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Dishonest steward


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Gospel: Lk 16:1-8

JESUS said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squan­dering his prop­erty. He sum­moned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishon­est steward for acting prudently. For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light.”

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Due to the pressures of foreign oc­cupation forces in Palestine, many rich landowners are “absentee landlords.” They entrust the management of their estates to stewards (Greek oikonomos, “estate manager”).

The oikonomos’ dishonesty in the parable probably consists in his overcharging the bills of tenants, and that it is only under the pressure of his imminent dismissal that he hits upon the idea of deducting these overcharges to secure the goodwill of the tenants. Later, he can bank on the goodwill and “sense of debt of gratitude” of the tenants when he needs their help in his unemployed state.

In what ways do we find ourselves as stewards? In our family, workplace, com­munity, and parish, what are the things entrusted to us? Do we let go of “benefits” or “commissions” to prove ourselves honest and gain the trust and goodwill of people?

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SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord,” ST PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 895-9701; Fax 895-7328; E-mail: publishing@stpauls.ph; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.