The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Elmer Ibarra SVD – Santa Teresa, Central Australia
Friday 31st Week in Ordinary Time
Image source: Facebook: Fr Flavie Villanueva SVD
“Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours.” This saying seems to apply to what the dishonest servant has done. During the time of Christ and even until now, Jews are not allowed to make interest in any loan that is provided.
Yet, this dishonest servant did so in the Gospel, perhaps because he wanted to enrich himself. The trouble is the excessiveness of this illicit practice has come to the knowledge of his master. So, in the light of the inevitability of him losing his job, he made favors to his master’s debtors.
This he did to look good so that somebody will give him employment when he loses his job. His master would also look good because the steward deodorized an illict activity by lessening the interest of the loan.
The Gospel is not telling us that we should be dishonest and cunning to take advantage of other people and benefit from other people’s kindness. The Gospel passage is only an observation on how “children of this world” operate so that they can take advantage of others.
While we should not imitate them, we should also be prudent in dealing with people of this world. While there is a need to help others, we should also be wise enough to help people who are truly poor and not those who pretend to be poor so they could have a free lunch at the expense of others.
That is why various charitable institutions are now investing in empowering poor people so that they can be independent and not always rely on hand-outs. As we say, “Give a man fish, and he’ll eat for a day. Teach a man how to fish, and he’ll eat for a lifetime.”
May this Gospel guide us on how to deal with the “children of this world” while still following the commands of Jesus of loving God and our neighbor.