Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
"Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with very much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with very much." (Lk. 16:1-13)
Interestingly, "The Parable of the Shrewd Manager" focuses on one meaning but talks about so much more. This parable speaks about how someone can be both smart with good intentions and terrible with how they handle things. It speaks about how someone expects others to trust them, but at the same time, they are dishonest with their words. They want so much for people not to judge them when they're at their weakest, all while having an alternative motive. There is so much back and forth that everything contradicts itself. It's probably why some scholars would perceive this as the least favorite of the parables but, simultaneously, the most understanding of them.
There were many times I thought about why I'm treated a certain way in various places. I would sometimes feel uncertain about how others perceived me. For example, I wondered how they would look at me if I did certain things. I'd do anything to feel welcomed amongst the many. I know it's a bit shameful, but sometimes you have to look at it from the other person's point of view. I can admit, that I was in a very dark place in my life, and it was terrifying. It was like I was sucked into a black hole with no way out. Just a pitch-black tunnel with no light, it felt endless. So yes, I have often felt as if I was lost and needed someone to find me and make me feel welcome.
I remember when I was in my early twenties, a lady approached me, stating how incapable I was of doing a simple task asked of me. I'll admit that in the past, I had failed once at completing the job but eventually, I redeemed myself in later years. I figured the way to do it was to find ways to get positive recognition in any shape or form, and sometimes that form would be in the shape of losses. The fact I had to honestly cut ties with some friends, family, and even romantic partners killed me, but it just felt necessary.
In verses three thru four, the manager does just that. He wonders what to do now that he has lost his job. He's ashamed, so he comes up with a clever yet sinister way of having people welcome him into their homes. As bright as his plan was, it only showed his master what he was incapable of doing.
There's a saying that what happens in the dark will always come to light. The manager's darkness was what he could do to gain wealth, no matter the cost. My darkness was trying to redeem what was once lost. However, what made the manager and I similar was that someone showed us the light. We saw how little we trusted God to give us what we needed and just maybe to help us find out who we truly are and what we were looking for. This parable helps us see that there is light where the dark night of the soul lies. Langston Hughes wrote a poem called “A Mother to a Son.” Hughes spoke about going through the darkness when there is no light, even if you’ve fallen down on hard times, you have to get up and not stay there. Where there are lies, there is always someone who you can trust amongst you. There’s a reason why having God as a friend is a major benefit to both oneself and others. God is always there whenever you need him.
Verse thirteen states that "No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate one and love the other, or you will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money." Serving two masters isn’t easy nor is it simple. You try to do right by one while deceiving the other only to go back and do the same to the other. I have tried to do this by serving both God and man and it has not worked out for me in any way, shape, or form. I had to realize by just serving God alone can make a difference in your life by showing you a brighter path to follow. I’m happy and most importantly blessed to follow this path and serve God because there’s no telling what path I would be on by trying to serve two masters.
I was once lost, but now found!
Author: Emerging and inspirational leader, Gabrielle M. Brawner, Newnan, Ga. Archbishop James P. Lyke Court 340 St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, Hapeville, Ga