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Stewardship, Investment, and Training
Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
Opening Prayer: Dear Lord, you speak once again to me through today’s Gospel. Even though your parables are not always easy to understand, help me to have a childlike faith to trust in your words with simplicity and docility. I know you have a special message of love for me today as I contemplate your parables. I pray that they can soften my heart of stone and transform it into a heart of flesh that pulsates with passion and deep desire to do your will.
- God Calls Me to Be a Steward: The Gospel uses the image of a steward to describe our place in this world. A steward is entrusted to care for the master’s property until his return. Time on earth is limited, and we will eventually need to give an account of our stewardship. “In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it. Be protectors of God’s gifts!” (Pope Francis, March 19, 2013). What precious goods has the Creator placed in our care?
- Be a Smart Investor: We need to be wise and prudent with our worldly investments to provide for ourselves and those under our care. This Gospel challenges us to apply similar strategies to our spiritual lives. We have been given spiritual gifts by the Holy Spirit for our own growth and for the good of the Kingdom of Christ. “There are different kinds of spiritual gifts but the same Spirit; there are different forms of service but the same Lord; there are different workings but the same God who produces all of them in everyone. To each individual the manifestation of the Spirit is given for some benefit…. the same Spirit produces all of these, distributing them individually to each person as he wishes (1 Corinthians 12:4-7, 11). No one has exactly the same gifts because all of us have been given unique and irreplaceable missions by God. May we properly evaluate our investment priorities so that we won’t gain the whole world but end up losing our soul (Matthew 16:26).
- A Training Ground: Today’s parable invites us to train ourselves in the art of spiritual investment once we have set our priorities. The Church has left us with troves of spiritual treasures; we can learn from the lives of the saints, their spiritual writings, and commentaries on the Scriptures. We have recourse to the sacraments, different forms of prayer, retreats, and spiritual guidance. The resources are there. How is the Lord inviting us to deepen our relationship with him?
Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, thank you for enlightening me with your Gospel today. Your words are like a double-edged sword that pierces into my innermost being (Hebrews 4:12). I know that I can be confused and lost, self-centered and rash. Make me brave so that I allow myself to be wounded by your love. I need your healing touch.
Resolution: Lord, today by our grace I promise to examine my spiritual habits and make changes to be a wiser investor of the wealth that truly matters.
For Further Reflection: Read Catechism of the Catholic Church 2013-2016, on the universal call to holiness. Lord Jesus Christ, you call us to be holy: “Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48). You call us to experience the fullness of life and the perfection of charity, using all the gifts you have given us. May we devote ourselves wholeheartedly to your glory and serve our neighbors as responsible stewards. With the saints in Heaven, we hope to recount the abundant fruitfulness of our lives before your majesty. We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Fr. Joseph Tham, LC, was ordained in 2004 and currently teaches bioethics in Rome’s Regina Apostolorum University. He is the author of many books and articles on bioethics. In his free time, he enjoys Chinese painting and calligraphy.
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