18 September, Sunday — Stewardship – The big picture

25th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Amo 8:4-7
1 Tim 2:1-8
Lk 16:1-13

“And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?”

I have often struggled with this passage and often continue to do so. It almost appears like the Gospel is encouraging us to be dishonest and even gets us praised for the dishonesty.

Many years ago, I began my career in financial services, at the tail end of the Asian Financial Crisis. Considering the economic situation, I was very blessed to secure permanent employment. Like many a crisis, the financial markets eventually recovered, and clients were back to the whole ‘game’ of trading, forgetting the earlier pain and distress.

My roles and responsibilities were to ensure that clients received the best available advice and executions, while balancing the interests of both the firm and clients. Sometimes, this might appear to disfavour the client, in favour of the firm; less often, vice versa.

Often, this would prick my conscience, as I would sometimes allow myself to get all caught up in the whole ‘we must do right by the client’ mantra. But upon further reflection, the firm was only playing by the rules of the Exchange and acting accordingly. In the rare instance where the firm was incorrect, the client was compensated.

The Steward in today’s Gospel didn’t do what is correct, but he set his sights on the larger picture — his ability to live and survive beyond his current designation. The analogy is often regarded against money, but it should encompass all aspects of our life.

I remember growing up with this acronym on many a bracelet or wristband — WWJD for (What Would Jesus Do?) – I guess my age really shows now. Teenagers all over the world would wear such bracelets after the widely read book by Charles Sheldon – In His Steps: What Would Jesus Do?

Maybe that should be the question before we undertake anything, make any decision and, most importantly, ask it before we open our mouths to speak.

Brothers and sisters, the challenge is to constantly keep in mind the moral imperative to act in a manner that would demonstrate the love of Jesus through our thoughts, words and actions.

(Today’s OXYGEN by Gerard Francis)

Prayer: We pray for the grace to always be Christ-focused and keep in mind our aim in our Catholic life – life in communion with Jesus and the Saints.

Thanksgiving: We give thanks for the gift of faith and the gift of good examples around us. Help us to identify and emulate their behaviour.


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