The Gospel this Sunday (Lk 16:1-13), is about social justice. The Lord invites us to choose God above everything else, including money.
Through the parable about the dishonest steward, Jesus teaches us to use the money to win poor friends, and thus make sure that when it fails us, our poor friends will welcome us into the tents of eternity. And so keeping money for our own interests is not a good idea, because money is the most unfaithful friend, it comes into our hands or into our bank account for a visit, and then it is happy to be transferred to the next person in the next minute. In the end, money is only a means to an end, and we who accumulate money without giving it a master are in danger of being its slaves. This is why Jesus says that we cannot be slaves both of God and of money. In the world, there does not exist a perfect servant who can be the slave of two masters. One will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn.
To be the master of money, Jesus invites us to practice integrity. Because with integrity a person who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great, but without integrity, the person who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. And if we earn and use money with integrity, God will also entrust us with the divine mysteries of our own salvation, but if we earn and use money without integrity, God will not entrust us with our own salvation either. As Jesus teaches us if you cannot be trusted with what is not your own, which is money, who will give you what is your very own, that is your salvation?
Moreover, the first reading (Amos 8:4-7) reminds us: “Listen to this, you who trample on the needy and try to suppress the poor people of the country, …The Lord swears it by the pride of Jacob, ‘Never will I forget a single thing you have done.’ And so, if our business causes disadvantages to the living cost of the poor, their housing, their employment, and their opportunities to study, the Lord will remember our deeds.
In short, we are called to imitate Christ himself, who wrote St. Paul, “Though he was rich, yet for our sake, he became poor, so that by his poverty we might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). In Jesus, God’s love remains for us forever.
Fr. Tien Cao