Fr. Chas Kestermeier, S.J.
Reflections for Bulletin of Parish in Singapore

Fr. Kestermeier, S.J. was asked to write periodic Sunday reflections for
the parish bulletin for a Parish in Singapore and he has shared them with us.
 

Sunday of the 25th Week of Ordinary Time (Year C)(18 september 2022)

          Psalm response: Praise the Lord, who lifts up the poor.

          Jesus offers us a rather curious parable today in Luke 16: this is the manager "dissipating his employer’s property," and this manager is either grossly incompetent or a crook – or both.  We must remember that it is not the man's behavior (altering the invoices) that Jesus praises but the manager's earnest but myopic desire to take care of himself, and especially the fact that he is using all the available means to that end.
          Now the manager supposedly "makes friends" with the people he works with, hoping that they will welcome him into their own circle when he leaves his current employment, but would you trust a snake like that?  Welcome him?  Neither would these business people: he is actually cutting his own throat, making sure that he does not get a new job with these people....
          He is very short-sighted: he has a good job but has failed to be a "good servant" and to make a living from it, but he is also turning himself into a cheat and poisoning his own future.  This whole story reminds me of the passage in Luke 12:42-48, where Jesus speaks about the steward who thinks his master is late in returning and “begins to beat the menservants and the maidservants and to eat and drink and get drunk."   Suffice it to say that the returning master is not happy....
          When it comes to us, we might ask if we ourselves consider all the means available to reach our own end, salvation.  Are we trustworthy in the little things? Is our word always good?  Do we center on others or on ourselves?  And do we take the long view, not like this man?  In short, are we thinking about what a wonderful opportunity we have with this life that God has given us and are we trying to make the most of it?  Are we always on the inside what we want to appear to be on the outside?  Are we "transparent," trying to be as simple and pure as God is? 
          We might as well work at it, since God certainly knows what we are up to, even if we lie to ourselves about it and since people see and understand us at least as well as we can see and understand them.  We need to become good managers of the wealth that God has placed in our hands because this is not a dead-end job for us, just a test and a training for us to become the people that He wants us to be.... 
          Consider also another wonderful parable Luke has, in his chapter 19, where a man is going on a voyage and entrusts different sums of money to different servants; it is clear, at the end of the parable, that these were not gifts but testing and training materials.  The gifts that God has given us (and it is all gift, whether we can see that now or not) are not ours, only what our loving Father has put into our hands for us to manage and learn through.  Luke also shows us another foolish way of dealing with those riches in his chapter 12, where a man has a rich harvest and pulls down his barns – and the Lord calls him to account that night....
          Consider the last four verses of today’s Gospel reading for yourselves and see just what sort of a manager of God’s gifts you are and how you might want to grow.

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