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Manager’s mistake

DID you know that graft and corruption already existed during Christ’s time? The parable of the shrewd manager which is the subject of this 25th Sunday gospel (Lk 16,1-13) illustrates this.

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Employed by a rich man, the manager is accused of squandering his master’s resources. The dishonest manager realizes he is about to be fired. What should he do?

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He figures out a clever but thoroughly fraudulent scheme. While still on his position, he uses it to his advantage.

He calls his master’s debtors and reduces their bills by as much as 50 percent. He reasons that after he loses his job, the people who profited from his scheme will take good care of him.

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But at the conclusion of the parable, Christ points out the manager’s serious flaw. He is accused of “buying friendship through cheating” (Lk 16,9). He achieves his goal by a dishonest way.

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WHEN MONEY BECOMES BAD. In today’s gospel, Jesus says further, “No servant can serve two masters – God and mammon” (Lk 16,13). The Lord is not making a clear distinction between God and money. He’s not telling us to make a choice between God and money.

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But money can become bad when it replaces God as the center of our life or when we’re so preoccupied with making money that we forget God and the spiritual values. Instead of “In God we trust,” it’s “In Gold we trust.”

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I came across the story of an American Catholic who combines his work and money concerns with gospel values. His name is Charlie de Leo.

He served in the Vietnam war and after returning home, he got a job as maintenance man of the Statue of Liberty.

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Part of his job is to take care of the torch in the statue’s hand and the crown on the statue’s head. He has to make sure that the sodium vapor lights are always working.

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But apart from his work, Charlie does other things for the Lord. He received a recommendation from the Red Cross after donating his 65th pint of blood.

And since hearing of the work of the late Mother Theresa in India, he had given over $12,000 to her and to people like her.

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Charlie de Leo is a living example of what Jesus is saying in the gospel. He works for a living, for money but he knows how to share it with those who have less in life.

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LAFF ONE ANOTHER. A Jew was talking about marriage to a Christian, saying: “Did you know the Bible says bigamy is all right?” The Christian replied, “No, the Bible is against bigamy.” Jew: “But don’t you recall all those Old Testament leaders who had lots of wives like Solomon?”

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The Christian replied, “Yes. But then Jesus Christ came along and told us no man can serve two masters.”

“And did you know the punishment for bigamy?” the Christian went on. “Not only do you have two masters but two mothers-in-law!” (biyenan). (Fr. Bel R. San Luis, SVD)

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