TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
Gospel: Luke 16: 1-13
It was not often that Jesus asked his followers to learn from the children of this generation. He was more often critical of his generation for manifold reasons including dishonesty and hypocrisy. Yet Jesus in today’s gospel is asking his followers to learn a lesson from the very dishonest generation. It is a surprise indeed.
What exactly was the recommendation of Jesus? Did Jesus ask his followers to be dishonest like the steward of the parable? No, not at all. He was asking his followers to be shrewd and creative like the steward. For the purpose of the story, let us forget for a moment, his dishonest practices. Facing the critical situation of losing his job, he dared to think out of the box. He was not trained for anything other than his present job. The next two option before him was either to lend himself as a casual labourer or start begging. Well, those were the regular options. So, he looked for a solution that was not given in any book. That is called ‘thinking out of the box.’
Yes, today Jesus indeed is calling us, his followers, to think out of the box and to come up with new answers to our new problems. Bible is not a book of total solutions to all human problems. As he suggested elsewhere, new wine needs a new wineskin (Mt 9: 17). Learn from the generation to be creative in solving our problems; he is not suggesting to be dishonest like them. Neither is he asking us to fend for ourselves. He is reminding us once again that we are designed intelligent and creative.
He is asking us to use our brains because he is too sure that he made us with brains. He was also too sure that only a few cared to use it well. He is not very sympathetic to us when we refuse to make use of our brains. He is not keen to help us with readymade answers. He takes pride in us when we attempt, and even risks failure in our attempts. A sensible parent would let the child walk around, fall, get up and walk again, rather than carry the child always.
Translate that to our spiritual, social, family, and professional lives. Be assured Jesus is around, should you fall in your attempts. He is never too far to lend hands to bring you back on foot. He is always there to boost your confidence, heal your wounds, and take pride in you scaling heights, making use of the talents he had generously gifted.
As the young Blessed Carlo Acutis reminded us, we are created originals, but many end up being photocopies. Be the original Jesus wants you to be.