“Money has the potential for doing a lot of good in this world and it also become a tyrannical master that can destroy our lives, so Jesus speaks about money today in our Gospel reading and he never really in his life tried to accumulate wealth. He never did and after he began his public ministry he said once, ‘The son of man has no place to lay his head, so he lived his life that was really dependent upon God, upon the providence of God and also on the generosity of others and he had some wealthy friends, Joseph of Arimithea, Nicodemus, even Zacchaeus the tax collector was a wealthy man and so he had friends who had a lot of money. So, Jesus never condemned people because they are wealthy, but he does call money tainted because he knew that it can get out of hand in our lives. It can take on importance that it really doesn’t have and it can blind us to the true spiritual values of life if we let it. In our Gospel today, Jesus says, ‘Make friends with tainted money so that they will welcome you into the eternal tents of Heaven.’ Now here he really resumes that we are all stewards that God is the master of everything, the owner of everything because he created everything and he has made us his stewards to handle the good things of this life that he has created and there will be an accounting he says just as with the unjust steward in the Gospel. There was an accounting where he lost his job. There will be an accounting for each of us also on how we have used our goods, how we have been good or bad stewards in this life. So he says make friends with money so that you will find the eternal tents of Heaven. Here he’s speaking about part of our stewardship of money and the material things of life is that you and I are called to remember the poor especially. We are called each of us in our lives to feed the hungry, to clothe the naked, to reach out to the suffering of this world, to give not only to receive and so that’s how we make friends that will welcome us in the tents of Heaven.
Now he uses the example of this steward who calls his master’s debtors to an accounting and he reduces the amount that each debtor owed his master. Now as we look on it on the face of it we may say, ‘Well he’s stealing from his master, reducing the debt that others have toward him’. But in antiquity, this is the way it worked. The steward was not paid by his master. Rather, when he had collected the interest on what his master had invested, then he took a percentage of that interest for himself and so in this case he does not receive it, he lets the debtor have it so that the debtor will welcome him when he knows he’s going to lose his job. So, we are to be good stewards recognizing that God is our master and that he wants us to share what we have with the poor. Amos condemns in the first reading as most of the prophets do, those who are wealthy and take advantage of the poor, those who exploit the poor in one way or another and in our modern life that happens a lot in very different ways. Jesus also reminds us that if we have a lot of wealth that it can turn into greed and greed is something that is insatiable. You feed it a little bit, it wants more and more. It’s never satisfied and if someone has a lot of money it can also dull them to the needs of the poor around them. There are always many examples of that. And so today, we think about our stewardship and how God calls us to especially be mindful of the poor as we manage the good things that he has given us to be stewards of in this world.
I have a prayer that I’d like to share. I titled this prayer, ‘Stewardship Prayer.’
Jesus, make me generous in my gift to you
Help me to remember all my blessings too
In my needs and problems, your grace does now suffice
So in my return to you, help me sacrifice
The amount is not what matters in your careful sight
It’s the love which was the value behind the widow’s might
The love within my heart is what you want to see
Behind my gift of money given generously
Help me Lord remember you once paid the price
Love is the real meaning of your sacrifice.”