USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
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.”
Good News Reflection: Recognizing your own goodness
Like the people of the Church of Rome to whom Saint Paul addressed the words we hear in today’s first reading, you are full of goodness. Do you see yourself that way? Or do you think it’s too prideful to recognize your own goodness?
Worse, do you see only what is bad about you, focusing on your shortcomings and berating yourself, always putting yourself down? Are you faster to forgive others than you forgive yourself? Do you judge yourself as unworthy of what you’ve been asking for in prayer?
Spiritual maturity means recognizing that what is good about us is what is good about God, seeing the goodness in ourselves as a sign of God’s presence, acknowledging that it’s because he lives in us that we are able to be holy and to do what is right. To belittle ourselves is to belittle God. To treat ourselves poorly and without forgiveness is to slap Jesus on the face while he dies on the cross.
This is why Paul could say, “In Christ Jesus, I have reason to boast in what pertains to God.” Make a list of what you can boast about. Knowing what is good about you will give you insight into how God is at work in you. And this, in turn, will give you strength and courage to do more for the kingdom of God while overcoming what is not good in you.
Paul admonished the church congregation in Rome to reach beyond themselves in mission and ministry. Are you self-absorbed and enclosed in your faith or is your faith outward bound? If you feel ashamed because you’re not evangelizing others enough, stop. Appreciate what is good about the way you do bring Jesus to others, and then build on that.
We gather in church community and celebrate Mass in order to be made holy by the Eucharist and to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to go outside and give Jesus to the world. And it is in the fellowship of parish activities that our goodness becomes visible to us through the eyes of others. We cannot share the gifts that God has given us until we realize how we are gifted. Then we can be the good stewards that Jesus describes in today’s Gospel passage.
When we think of stewardship, we usually think first of financial donations to the church. Using that as an example, why do we dislike being admonished from the pulpit for our lack of generosity? It’s because we don’t know how generous we really can be! We’ve not yet recognized our own good ability to share more abundantly, because we don’t realize that whatever we have is originally from God and that he will continue giving it according to his purposes and generosity.
In other words, to be holy we must appreciate all that’s good in us and share it with others.
Enlighten, Lord, my mind with the light of Your Holy Spirit, to act with wisdom, strength and generosity. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica