Today's Gospel according to St. Luke is most perplexing and I'm relieved to hear that lay people aren't the only folks who struggle with making sense of it. Our Lord tells a parable about a lazy steward who is dismissed from his position because he squandered his master's money. He realizes he will likely starve to death because he can't dig ditches and he's too proud to beg. He devises a scheme to make his master's debtors become ingratiated to him by falsely reducing the amount that they owe. Our Lord commends the ingenuity of this wicked servant, saying the children of this world are more prudent in worldly matters than are the children of light.
Finally, I heard a sermon today that makes sense of this Gospel. Our Lord is not so much commending the servant for his wickedness as he is lamenting that sinful man is not so resourceful with heavenly treasures as he is with worldly matters. Father pointed out that if we took advantage of every spiritual grace and blessing made available to us in the sacraments and prayer, we would be very well invested in that which matters most. In an excellent analogy, he asked to consider if all of Donald Trump's wealth was not material but spiritual. If he amassed in grace what he has amassed financially, Father said we would be calling him "St. Donald". Amusing, but true! How many people do we know obsess about their financial investments but haven't stepped foot in church or gone to confession in decades? Once we squander our opportunity to earn our Heavenly reward, we are at the mercy of God. Money, houses, jewels and I would throw in there political power are transient. Heaven or Hell are eternal. Will we be able to make an honest accounting to demonstrate we've earned a place among the elect? With God's help, I am going to do everything in my power to assure that everyone I know and love is aware of what's at stake.
As Our Lord advises in Matthew's Gospel, heard every Ash Wednesday, let us store up for ourselves treasure in heaven, where rust does not corrupt and thieves cannot break in and steal. None of us are too holy to stop and think for a moment how what we say, do and think is in conformity with God's will. The worst mistakes I've made have come when pride has interfered and I've allowed myself to think I could just coast along. Am I as holy as I should be? Am I as holy as I can be? There's always room for improvement.