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The Stewardship Entrusted to Us - Weekday Homily Video

The Stewardship Entrusted to Us - Weekday Homily Video

Why pray?  |  Love thy Neighbor  |  Return to the Church

I have heard this story about the committal service of a man. As the casket was about to be lowered into the grave, a mourner came forward and said, "He was a very nice man; he loaned me a hundred dollars, and I owe him that money." He took a hundred-dollar bill and placed it on the casket. Another man came forward, stating that he also owed the deceased a hundred dollars and wanted to pay him back at that very moment. He also placed a hundred-dollar bill on the casket. Then, as the undertaker was about to lower the casket into the grave, another man came forward and declared that he owed the deceased three hundred dollars.

 As he was saying this, he took out his check book and wrote a five-hundred-dollar check and placed it on the casket, picked up the two hundred-dollar bills from the top of the casket and put them in his pocket.

Wisdom Can Come from a Tainted Source

In the parable of the dishonest manager, Jesus talks about a steward who wasted his master's property as well as cheated his master. This is one of the most puzzling stories in the gospel. A guy about to be fired for cheating, gets back at his boss by cheating him again. In return, he receives the boss' praise. How are we to understand that comparison?

The servant in this parable is bad to the bone. Yet he still has a message to bring that we can learn from. Jesus shows how even the worst have something of the best to teach us if we are willing to receive wisdom from a tainted source.

Lives of Precious Clay

Honesty is a matter of doing the right thing. A good character is not achieved by a few great deeds but by many little ones. Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character. A Russian novelist, Fyodor Dostoevsky, says, "The second half of a person's life is usually made up of the habits acquired during the first half." What a frightening thought! A moment seemingly comes in our lives when the precious clay of which we are made hardens and settles. From that point on, we can assume no new shape. Thus, the dishonest person will remain dishonest to the end.

The man in the parable is a world-class cheater, and he was so used to cheating that he couldn't change. We hear stories of cheating every day, but cheating is nothing new. Cheating is child's play, but adults are good at it. The real dilemma of cheating is what it does to us inside. When we forfeit our integrity, the true self slips away, and the liar becomes more and more identified with who we are. Quite soon, we cannot find the good person we once were.

In 1599, Sir Edwin Sandys, an English politician and colonial entrepreneur, coined the idiom, "Honesty is the best policy.” If God puts you into a position of responsibility, provides you with a job, or allows you to operate a business, why would you dishonor God by cheating your employer, customers, and coworkers?

In the story, the rich man was so impressed with his manager—not because of his dishonesty—but because of his wise behavior. Why was the parable of the dishonest manager included in the gospel, we might wonder. Surely it was because of the Church's concern about the proper use of goods from earliest times.

For Our Reflection

Are we guilty of wasting our master's possessions? Will we be called to account for our management of what God has placed in our stewardship? Our saint today, Saint Leo, is known as the great because of his great stewardship of what was entrusted to him.

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About Father Boby John, C.S.C.

Father Boby John, C.S.C., ordained a priest in the Congregation of Holy Cross in 2008, worked as a pastor and as an educator with tribal populations in Northeast India for thirteen years. Originally from Kerala, India, Father Boby grew up with three siblings. He is a dedicated and detailed educationist with experience in educational leadership. He is currently working as an executive assistant at the world headquarters of Holy Cross Family Ministries, North Easton, Massachusetts.