Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Phil 3:17-4:1; 
Ps 122:1-5; Lk 16:1-8

Every time we go to the House of the LORD; we go rejoicing.  Even the announcement is a delight.  With joy we hear the cry, “We will go up to the house of the LORD”.  Why all the gladness and celebration over some pilgrimage?  The ability to travel to the Holy City and spend time praising the Name of the LORD was a great blessing.  In the chanting and in the sacrifices of the Temple was found the true joy of being an Israelite.  At this place were the LORD rested his feet, and in the city built with compact unity, there the tribes of the LORD gathered to give thanks to the Name of the LORD.  In the midst of this compact unity, where brothers dwell as one, there are set up judgment seats, seats for the house of David.  As a man after God’s own heart, King David, sought to create such a national unity that every nation could come and find the glory of the LORD, in his Temple and in his People.  This chosen people were intended to provide a model for human community.  They were to reveal to the nations what it means to be a holy nation, full of justice and peace.  Indeed, they were to sit in judgment on the nations who did not know the promises, the covenant, the wisdom, the prophets and the law.  Saint Paul offers himself as a model for his converts so that they might come to know how to conduct themselves according to the New Covenant in Christ.  The Lord Jesus holds up as a model the dishonest steward for acting prudently—would that all of us would be as clever about the Kingdom as we are about the things of this world.


Saint Paul instructs the Philippians to imitate him, in as much as he imitates the Lord Jesus.  It seems that some of his converts were conducting themselves as enemies of the cross of Christ.  Some of his beloved children were breaking the heart of the Apostle to the Gentiles.  In tears, Saint Paul would behold the danger they were in.  They were running headlong into destruction.  Their appropriation and adaptation of laws governing diet and food preparation had become a preoccupation.  Saint Paul pulls no punches when he writes, “Their God is their stomach.”  Indeed, some even displayed their fleshly circumcision rather than cover it over in modesty.  The whole concern with the things of the Old Law kept them focused upon earthy things, passing, temporal, and vain things.  They were more interested in many vain things, a “puff of smoke,” than they were attracted to the living flame of divine love upon the cross of Christ. Saint Paul reminds the Church at Philippi and all of us that our citizenship is in heaven.  From this faith perspective we wait the return of our savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Indeed, even now, the Lord Jesus is changing our lowly body, from glory to glory, so that our lowly body will be in conformity with his glorified Body.  Active involvement and total commitment to this adventure in growth is all that we truly love and long for; it is our joy and our crown.  In this way we stand firm in Lord, as his beloved children of the Light.


Without a firm grasp of the final logion in this account by Saint Luke it can be all too easily misunderstood.  The dishonest steward seems to know how to win friends and influence people.  Once his Master has dismissed him, the Steward does not want to do manual labor for the rest of his days.  This dishonest steward is no dummy.  He quickly restructures the payment of his master’s debtors.  This adjustment enables him to have friends with money once he is made redundant.  This is the behavior that the Lord Jesus wants us to display before all the nations, so that they might know that the LORD is God and there is no other.  As children of the Light may we struggle to live the commands, and grow in wisdom.  However, the struggle is worth every effort.