Children of Light

Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’ 
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”
(Luke 16:1-8)   

Scripture Study

16:1 a steward: A head servant who handled the business affairs of his master’s estate. Like the prodigal son (15:13), this manager wasted his master’s goods.

16:6 hundred measures of oil: About 800 gallons. The steward reduces the debt 50 percent.

16:7 hundred measures of wheat: About 1,000 bushels. The debt is reduced 20 percent.

16:8 his prudence: The master, although cheated by the debt reduction, commends the steward for his shrewdness. He recognizes that the steward’s last-minute efforts proved successful in winning the favor of the debtors and making his financial future more secure. The unjust strategy of the steward shows that he was motivated by an entirely selfish concern for his own temporal welfare. Jesus points to the steward as both an example and a warning. (1) As an example, the steward shows how to expend every effort in making use of our means to prepare for the future. Just as his cunning won him a comfortable living in the “houses” of his master’s debtors (16:4), so believers are challenged to make friends by almsgiving in order to be received into “eternal habitations” (16:9). (2) As a warning, the steward is intended to characterize the attitude of the Pharisees, who have been listening to Jesus since 15:2 and who are charged with being “lovers of money” in 16:14. It is implied that the Pharisees are despising God by their devotion to mammon, i.e., they seek not eternal riches but the esteem of men and the temporal comforts of this world (16:13).[1]

 

Reflection

“For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than the children of light.”

The unfaithful steward manages to avoid falling on hard times. Of course, our Lord presumes that we realize the immorality of the man’s behavior. What he emphasizes and praises, however, is his shrewdness and effort: he tries to derive maximum material advantage from his former position as steward. We are called children of light for light produces every kind of goodness and righteousness and truth. Children of light manifest the kind of spiritual and moral goodness that everyone recognizes.

In saving our soul and spreading the Kingdom of God, our Lord wants us to apply at least the same ingenuity and effort as people put into their worldly affairs or their attempts to attain some human ideal. The fact that we can count on God’s grace does not in any way exempt us from the need to employ all available legitimate human resources even if that means strenuous effort and heroic sacrifice in living as children of light.

 

May the virtues of faith, hope, and love go with you today – DV.

 

 

 

[1] Curtis Mitch, Introduction to the Gospels, in The Ignatius Catholic Study Bible: The New Testament (San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2010), 137–138.