In this gospel, we meet up with a very cagey and astute manager. He finds himself on the outs with his boss because he has been devious and wasteful with the boss’s property. While he is thinking about a way around this situation, he comes up with a plan, which, although dishonest in itself, is clever because it will help him provide for his future. It seems unusual at first glance for Jesus to praise this steward who was dishonest, but Jesus is using this example for a purpose. If only the children of the light (which is we) would be this astute and clever in their dealings, they would figure things out much quicker and everyone would benefit!
However, what is it exactly that we should be astute and clever about? Since the boss reproaches the steward because he is wasteful, we can take our cue from that. Being wasteful can have many ramifications. With what am I wasteful? Natural resources? Water? Food? My life? Everything in our lives, in creation, is a gift. What a sad thing it is to waste a gift. We are asked to be trustworthy with what is given to us. Usually, we don’t start with the big things and work our way down to the small things. It’s just the opposite. It’s like that with trust. We start earning trust in small ways and then graduate to bigger ways.
We can’t save the entire planet from being wasted in one fell swoop, but we can reverence the ground upon which we walk, the plants and animals that inhabit our world, and we can be careful not to waste what we use. We know, too, that we have but one life to live and to live to the fullest. Anything less means it’s being wasted. That would be perhaps the biggest waste of all.
So, as Jesus points out in the gospel, we can’t serve two masters at once. We can’t reverence life and waste it at the same time. Either we save the environment or we destroy it. Either we live life or we coast through it. The two masters are there for the choosing and the choice is obvious.
-Sr. Patricia Brady
Sisters of St. Mary of Namur . 241 Lafayette Avenue . Buffalo, New York 14213 . (716) 884-8221