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Notes on Trinity 09

by ToddPeperkorn ~ July 14th, 2008

The Lord Jesus, the True Teacher, puts before us the Parable of the Unjust Steward. By the example of this person He makes clear to us that in this world nothing is really ours, but that we have been entrusted with the stewardship of the goods of Our Lord. Either we use them in thanksgiving according to our needs, or we distribute them to our neighbor according to his need. Furthermore, it is not lawful to misuse indiscriminately the goods that have been committed to us, or to claim the right to extravagant expense and display. For we must render an account of our stewardship to the Lord when He comes. (St. Gaudentius)

In the Gospel Christ compares the unrighteous man with the righteous man. As the unrighteous man acts shrewdly with his unrighteousness and villainy, so we should act wisely in matters of justice and piety. This is the point of the comparison, as Jesus Himself explains when He says, “the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light”. The “sons of light” should learn prudence from “the sons of darkness”, or the world. Even as they are clever in all their doings, so also should “the sons of light” be clever in all their doings. (Blessed Martin Luther)

The parable Our Blessed Lord tells in today’s Gospel is about a man who does not bless God, but who works so hard for the blessing of others. It’s about a man who does not turn to God in time of need, but relies on His own cleverness and inner resources. And so he is called unjust, unrighteous. Not because he hurts others or treats others with injustice, but because he does not rely on the righteousness of God. The man tries to make things righteous, rather than trusting in the mercy and compassion of God the Righteous One. If only he cared about righteousness as much as he cared about unrighteousness!

Do not consider your riches as belonging to yourselves alone. Open wide your hand to those who are in need; assist those in poverty and pain; comfort those who have fallen into extreme distress; console with those who are in sorrow, or oppressed with bodily maladies and the want of necessaries; and comfort also the saints who embrace a voluntary poverty that they may serve God without distraction. Nor shall your so doing be unrewarded. For when your earthly wealth abandons you, as you reach the end of your life, then they shall make you partakers of their hope and of the consolation given them by God. (St Cyril of Alexandria)

In this parable, the unfaithful steward is represented as receiving commendation from his master, not because he had done wickedly, but because he had done wisely. If the defrauded master is moved to praise the worldly wisdom of his dishonest servant, how much more our Master Christ (who cannot be defrauded by any of us, and is Himself the great Forgiver of debts) will be moved to praise us if we show compassion on those who are brought to greater faith in Him and His mercy! (St. Jerome)

The sense of this parable is something like the following: The God of all wills that all men should be saved and come to the knowledge of the Truth (1 Tim 2.4). For this reason He gave the law for a help (Is 8.20)—that is, the whole inspired Scripture—by means of which we learn the path which leads straight unto every good and saving thing. The Lord of all, therefore, requires us to be thoroughly constant in our strivings after virtue, and to fix our desires upon the better and holy life, setting ourselves free from the distractions of the world, and from all love of riches, and of the pleasures which wealth brings, that we may serve Him continually and with undivided affections. (St Cyril of Alexandria)

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