Lectionary Year C : Sunday 22nd September 2019

♦ ♦ ♦ LUKE 16 : 1 – 13 ♦ ♦ ♦

STORY OF THE SHREWD MANAGER –

In this passage, Jesus speaks to the disciples rather than those who are on the fringes or outside his movement. His hearers are those who are on the inside. This background only adds to the strange and disconcerting effects of one of the most puzzling parables. For the parable seems to elevate the cunning displayed by the dishonest manager to the level of virtue. If those around Jesus saw themselves as part of God’s holy community – a community living out God’s deepest calling – what might they have thought when they heard this story of cunning? While modern readers may be tempted to imagine that the master in the story represents God, it is not clear that Jesus’ first disciples would. The master in the story is simply too worldly, for he commends the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. On the other hand, this might be a parable that we who live in a difficult and compromised world need to hear. It is easy for Christians to idolise purity and being ‘holier than thou’. The real challenge is to find a way to be faithful to God in a world where all of us are caught up in unjust and unfair systems. Perhaps this parable challenges us to be clear about who our master is – is it money or God? – and to be realistic about how we serve the Lord.

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