Generosity and help to others…builds true security for the future
Today’s First Reading seems clear: those terrible businessmen cheating the poor deserve to be seriously punished. But God is not just talking about money. The reading opens our minds up to the concept of corporate sin: where society structures unfairly cause pain for some people.
For example, in Kenya, the minimum wage is barely enough to live on, and certainly does not provide the necessary backup if a medical problem occurs. As employers, especially in the Church, are we just going along with the system because “that’s the way it is here”?
When we employ Contractors, do we care what they pay their workers? It’s not my business? I just discovered that our lowest paid worker on the new building site is paid $4.25 per day, instead of $5 per day: no lunch/tea provided. It’s made me think: when we employ contractors in the future, we should stipulate the daily wages to be at least above minimum.
People are important, but we sometimes lose sight of it. Report at the Police Station:
Husband: My wife is missing! She went shopping yesterday and has not come home…
Policeman: What is her height?
Husband: Gee, I’m not sure. A little over five-feet tall.
Husband: I don’t know. Not slim, not really fat.
Policeman: Color of eyes?
Husband: Sort of brown I think. Never really noticed.
Policeman: Color of hair?
Husband: Changes a couple times a year. Maybe dark brown now. I can’t remember.
Policeman: What was she wearing?
Husband: Could have been pants, or maybe a skirt or shorts. I don’t know exactly.
Policeman: What kind of car did she go in?
Husband: She went in my truck.
Policeman: What kind of truck was it?
Husband: A 2015 Ford F150 King Ranch 4×4 with eco-boost 5.0L V8 engine special ordered with manual transmission and climate controlled air conditioning. It has a custom matching white cover for the bed, which has a matching aftermarket bed liner. Custom leather 6-way seats and “Bubba” floor mats. Trail-ring package with gold hitch and special wiring hook-ups. DVD with full GPS navigation, satellite radio receiver, 23-channel CB radio, six cup holders, a USB port, and four power outlets. I added special alloy wheels and off-road Michelins. It has custom running boards and indirect wheel well lighting. At this point the husband started getting emotional…
Policeman: Don’t worry friend, we’ll find your truck.
This husband is more worried about his truck – his “property” than his wife. In our lives, do we do the same with our parents, children or husband? Are they just there as an “accident” to serve me or do we find God by serving them?
Today’s Gospel uses symbols to teach us something: The RICH man is God. The STEWARD is you and me. The Debtors are our neighbours. The WEALTH managed by the Steward are the talents & material possessions that we have.
Rather than try to analyse the customs of that time, I believe Jesus has a simple message: It’s never too late to change our bad behaviour and do good.
Especially priests and religious need to be generous and honest.
Money and material things are meant to help others, not be stored up as security. When we use money and material things to help others, we automatically create a better security.
At any time, floods, fire or drought can destroy our money, etc. But, if we have always helped others with our materials, then the community will look after us. Our taxes are a good example of this: as we redistribute some of the wealth from rich to poor, so we create a society (a structure) where we will be supported when we become poor.
The inclusion of the 2nd Reading reminds us that God is willing to forget the past if we change for the good today. St Paul, once the great persecutor, is now the greater “helper”.
Let us pray for our politicians in Kenya: that those who are corrupt, might use what they have to help people and so save themselves. They can’t undo the past but, hopefully, with the grace of God, they might stop over-feeding themselves and start feeding our people.
Mother Teresa, who was recently elevated to a Saint, always matched her words with her actions, and so I leave us all with her challenging thought:
If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest and sincere people may deceive you. Be honest and sincere anyway.
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight. Create anyway.
The good you do today, will often be forgotten. Do good anyway.
Give the best you have, and it will never be enough. Give your best anyway.
By Gerard Conlan, OMI