This Sunday’s Gospel related the parable of the disobedient steward. His master entrusted his entire estate to this steward, who then squandered his master’s property. However, when the steward was confronted by his master, the steward changed his ways, going to his master’s debtors and collecting what was owed, but in a prudent fashion. When the master saw his steward’s actions, he commended him.
“The person who is trustworthy in very small matters
is also trustworthy in great ones;
and the person who is dishonest in very small matters
is also dishonest in great ones.” Luke 16:10
I must admit that while the priest was reading this passage in Mass, my mind was already preparing for a “hard truth” homily with the message that we must humble ourselves and place God above everything in our lives. As the Gospel put it, “no servant can serve two masters.” There are so many worldly goods that can easily be placed before God; it is difficult to humble ourselves and give away all our worldly possessions in order to serve Him better. To my surprise, the priest did not speak harshly at all–quite the contrary.
He made the point that we are all stewards, and God is our master. We have been placed on this earth to take care of it, but nothing we care for is rightfully ours. In a sense, we are always meant to be slightly uncomfortable in our surroundings, as we are uncomfortable while staying in a hotel room. It may have many of the conveniences in our home, but it doesn’t feel like home. I found this message particularly significant since just last week I celebrated my 2 year anniversary of moving away from my childhood home. Two years ago, I had no idea what the Lord had in store for me, and I was on a path to recognizing I will never have an earthly home again. I have moved four times in the past two years, and each time I moved to another temporary living situation. What is surprising is that I grew to love these temporary households. I have learned to live simply, only keeping the possessions I need, and during my time in New York City, these possessions were especially minimal since I could not afford anything else.
The priest continued to add that God made us wealthy so we could give this wealth away. I think this was the first time in my life that I was called wealthy, and truthfully, I am not wealthy, based on society’s definition of a wealthy person. However, in the Lord’s eyes, I am wealthy, and for the first time, I have sufficient means to give myself away to others who are more in need. For most of my life, I have been surviving–relying on others to help me when I could not provide the necessities of life for myself. When I was a child, I relied on my parents, and when I grew up and was diagnosed with Type I diabetes, my health truly crippled my physical ability to get things done (like finishing my college education), and my mental state kept me from believing in my abilities to achieve such goals. This time of simple survival is over, and I am ready to take my position as a true steward for our Lord.
To that end, God has once again shown His gracious nature because that very night after Mass, I went to my local coffee shop where I have become a “regular” (the employees all know my name and my drink of choice). I approached the register ready to order, and the guy behind the counter, who I have come to know well, said, “don’t worry, your coffee is on us.” I was overcome with great gratitude. Through that simple act, my thoughts were immediately brought back to the message of the gospel, and I was filled with love of the Holy Spirit. Everyone in this world is a steward, and we can all give to one another through simple acts of kindness. I was blessed to be a recipient of one of those acts from a fellow steward, which strengthened my resolve to “go and do likewise”!