What goes around, comes around!
In the First Reading and Gospel today, we get a few insights into the temptation of ‘cooking the books’ in matters financial, and a glimpse into an instinct within our nature, which left untamed, can lead to cheating, stealing, deception and swindling, especially of those who have no power to change their situation. However, this instinct, as well as other related bad traits, can be turned upside down into a thirst and hunger for living God’s ways, and being bearers of God’s justice.
As we prepare to ponder God’s Word in this realhomilie, not only with our lips, but also with our hearts, let us call to mind areas in our lives, which need graced insight into our need of mercy & forgiveness as individuals and as a community
Lord Jesus, you help us to value the kingdom of God before all other things. We praise you. LORD HAVE MERCY.
Lord Jesus, you are there with your Holy Spirit to awaken us, to do God’s will in freedom and joy. We thank you. CHRIST HAVE MERCY.
Lord Jesus, your Word prompts us to live as children of the light. We praise you. LORD HAVE MERCY.
Let’s have a look at today’s Gospel: The steward in Jesus’ story was unreliable and dishonest. It’s obvious that he had been so for quite some time. It probably started off in little ways, but eventually became a way of life. He must have known all along that he was living dangerously. But he got away with it for a long time, thus evading public judgement and even self-examination. However, in spite of his craftiness, he was eventually found out, and his master confronted him with his misconduct.
It must have been a very humbling and painful moment for the steward. He was about to lose not only his job but also his reputation. He had brought shame and disgrace on himself and his family, if he had a family.
But it could also have been a moment of salvation. Because it showed him the dishonest reality in which he was living, it could have been a turning point in his life.
But what happened? He learned nothing from it! Even after being sacked from his job he continued on in his old dishonest ways. There wasn’t the slightest change in his character. Not the least dent in his armour. He refused to take responsibility for the kind of person he had become.
It is very difficult to change the habits of a lifetime. The Russian writer Dostoevsky says: “The second half of a person’s life is usually made up of the habits acquired during the first half”. That’s a pretty frightening thought!
It seems there is a moment in our lives when the precious clay of which we are made hardens and sets, so that from that point on we can assume no new shape. The dishonest person will remain that way to the end.
An illustration:- Once a holy man was instructing his disciples as they walked through a forest. He pointed to a small eucalypt sapling, and asked one of his disciples to pull it up. The disciple did so with one hand. Then the master pointed to another eucalypt, a little bigger than the first, and asked the disciple to pull that one up. He did so but had to use both hands. The master pointed to a third and bigger eucalypt, and asked the disciple to pull it up. He could do so only with the help of one of his companions. Finally, he pointed to a still larger eucalypt and asked the disciple to pull that one up. Even with the help of all his companions he was unable to do so.
And the master concluded, “That’s how it is with passions and habits. In the beginning, before they have sunk deep roots, it is easy to eradicate them.. but if we allow them to sink deep roots, it becomes virtually impossible to rid ourselves of them”.
This, presumably, is what happened to the steward in Jesus’ story. He had become so used to a dishonest way of life that he couldn’t change. However, what is impossible to use can become possible with the aid of God’s grace.
While the story shows the danger of bad habits it also shows the importance of forming good habits. Just as dishonesty can become a way of life so can honesty. Honesty can become habitual, spontaneous, second nature.
How does one arrive at this happy state? It cannot be achieved overnight. It has to be learned by long practice. It is not achieved by a few great deeds but by a lot of little ones. The real reward for a good deed is that it makes the next good deed easier. Every little action of the common day makes or unmakes character.
THE GLORIOUS HANDSHAKE
There was a company, which built houses, a bit like Jennings or Clarendon…and their business was on a very big scale. There is a story told about one of their building contractors, who was approaching the age of retirement. He had become very careless and carefree, and his working standards were constantly slipping. He began cutting corners, using cheap materials, and taking short cuts. He was quite pleased with himself, and he felt that he was onto a good thing here.
As time progressed, so did the standard of his work get worse and worse. The Homes were new, so the faults would not show up straightaway and he would be well out of the business and enjoying glorious retirement by then.
The time of his retirement arrived, and it coincided with what was possibly the worst house that he had ever built. Imagine his surprise, at his retirement party, when his golden handshake was to be presented with the keys to the last house he had just completed.
PRAYER BEFORE HOLY COMMUNION
We give thanks to God, our Father, who cannot deceive his children. By making of our poor offerings the body and blood of his Son, he shows us what is our true wealth, and fill us even now with the imperishable treasures of the good things to come.
Fr Kevin Walsh
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Web:https://realhomilies.wordpress.com/
The City of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia