Eighth Sunday after Pentecost
The Gospel according to St. Luke, 16:1-9
“At that time Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: There was a certain rich man who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him, that he had wasted his goods. And he called him, and said to him: How is it that I hear this of thee? Give an account of thy stewardship, for now thou canst be steward no longer. And the steward said within himself: What shall I do, because my lord taketh away from me the stewardship? To dig I am not able; to beg I am ashamed. I know what I will do, that when I shall be removed from the stewardship they may receive me into their houses. Therefore, calling together every one of his lord’s debtors, he said to the first: How much dost thou owe my lord? But he said: A hundred barrels of oil. And he said to him: Take thy bill, and sit down quickly, and write fifty. Then he said to another: And how much dost thou owe? Who said; A hundred quarters of wheat. He said to him: Take thy bill, and write eighty. And the lord commended the unjust steward, forasmuch as he had done wisely; for the children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light. And I say to you: Make unto you friends of the mammon of iniquity, that when you shall fail, they may receive you into everlasting dwellings.”
Meditation for the Morning
Let us adore God under the semblance of the rich man of whom the gospel of the day speaks. God is eminently rich, not only because He possesses in Himself an infinity of perfections which are the most splendid riches, but also because He is the infinite Master of all things, of all the riches of nature, of all the riches of grace, of the inestimable riches of glory; and He might still create thousands of worlds richer and more magnificent, without the riches which are in Him being either exhausted or diminished. Let us rejoice that God is so rich, and let us deem ourselves happy to belong to such a Master. When we love, we delight in everything which honors the person beloved.
We Owe Ourselves Entirely to God
All that we have and all that we are belongs absolutely and essentially to God, since, as He is our Creator and our Preserver, He is essentially our sovereign Master. In communicating to us His gifts, He does not thereby intend to give up His right to them; He keeps the ownership of them for Himself, and confides to us only their steward ship and management, with the charge of administering them, not according to our liking and caprices, but according to His will. We are only servants or agents to whom does not belong even the bread they eat or the water they drink, and He has the right to drive us away or to punish us if we do not administrate His possessions in the way He desires we should do. This principle being laid down, it follows that if God has given us riches, it is on condition that after having provided for our necessities we should employ what remains for the needs of the poor; if He has imparted to us mental gifts, or certain personal advantages, or certain natural or supernatural privileges; if at every moment He adds to our existence the blessing of another moment, it is on condition that we shall make use of all these things according to His good pleasure, not disposing of anything from caprice, from love of the world and our own comfort, from vanity or sensuality; and all these requirements belong to Him by right. At every moment He may say to us, as He certainly will one day say, “Give an account of thy stewardship.” What have you done with all My possessions? What have you done with the wealth of which I confided to you the stewardship? Did you give the portion which was due of it to the poor, taking for yourself only what was necessary? What have you done with your intelligence? Have you applied it to things which were useful and in the order of your duties, or have you not paralyzed it through idleness, perverted it by bad books, evil thoughts, sinful conversations, or given it up to the service of self-love and of pride? What have you done with your body? Have you not made it a slave to vanity, an idol of sensuality? What have you done with your time? Have you economized every particle of it? What have you done with My graces? Have you not been unfaithful to them? Give Me an account of the evils you have done, and of the good you ought to have done and have not done, and of the good you have done badly by mingling with it negligence, cowardice, self-love, for it is not enough to do what is right; you must also do it well (Wis. 6:11).
We are Supremely Irrational in Responding so Ill to the Designs of God in Regard to us
Is it not indeed a strange thing that we, who ought to belong wholly to God, show less zeal in executing His will, in the order of our eternal salvation, than men of the world exhibit for miserable temporal interests? Nevertheless, many who call themselves Christians do so in spite of the gospel, which anathematizes riches, honors, and pleasures, and declares that salvation is the one thing necessary. The man of the world is inspired by a passionate desire to procure the false goods of this world for himself; and many who call themselves Christians have only a very moderate desire to be saved; they think of it very little, and even then it is with indifference; they do not make a serious business of it, and, of all their anxieties, it is the least. The man of the world carefully puts aside everything which forms an obstacle to his projects; he watches, he keeps himself on his guard; and yet many who call themselves Christians care little for what exposes their salvation to peril; even when they perceive that there exists an obstacle to their salvation, it is only with difficulty they decide to put it away; they love the occasion which exposes them to it, often they will not leave it; and it is only difficulty that they are persuaded to separate themselves from it. The man of the world does not hesitate to make any sacrifice which will enable him to attain his end; and, not taking into account any probable chances, he always aims at what is most certain, never neglects any means of success, braves fatigue, perils, even death itself; whilst, on the contrary, many who call themselves Christians are pusillanimous and devoid of energy in what has regard to salvation; they aim always at doing the least possible, not examining whether what is asked of them is the best means whereby to save themselves, but whether it is absolutely necessary, if they could not really dispense themselves from it; the smallest difficulties repel them, restraint frightens them; they do not think either of repairing past losses by amassing more virtues and merits, or of taking precautions against dangers in the future, or of sending before them into heaven spiritual riches which will be their happiness throughout eternity; they only aim at not ruining themselves completely, that is to say, not to damn themselves. Oh, if we had but as much zeal to save ourselves as the man of business has to enrich himself, as the soldier has to obtain advancement; if we but did for heaven what the world does to obtain a position, to gain a lawsuit, to succeed in commerce, or to recover lost health, how soon should we become great saints! So true are the words of Our Lord, that the children of this world are wiser in regard to the trifles which they call their affairs than the children of light in regard to the affair of their salvation.
Resolutions and spiritual nosegay as above.