Homily: Wealth Management
The followers of Jesus must act prudently in regard to their own future prospects. It should also be noted that this steward, though lacking in good management, was probably not as unjust as at first appears. In all likelihood, he was simply subtracting his own substantial commission from the debt owed to his master. This would be similar to the prudence of a small-market baseball team that trades away a good player because he is eligible for free agency and will be lost anyway!
The sayings that follow the parable sharpen its focus by making it clear what Jesus has in mind. The attitude that his followers have to adopt in regard to their earthly possessions, whether they are wealth or personal talents is crucial . If someone were to allow these human and temporal things to monopolize their attention, there is grave danger that the eternal treasure that awaits every true believer will be lost.
A distinctive feature of Luke’s gospel is the deep concern he shows for the precarious plight of wealthy or talented individuals who have become so engrossed in managing their riches that they are fatally distracted from the real purpose of life. In this human situation. They may very well be so distracted that they will discover, only when it’s too late, that they have wasted the only ultimately significant opportunity in their lives.
This same lesson is found in the situation of a strikingly beautiful person who has never needed to develop a mature and pleasing personality. This is what is meant when we speak of the “curse” of great talent.
Preoccupation In Managing One’s Wealth.
Luke warns that possessions can have a drugging effect on their owners. One sees this clearly in Luke’s story of the rich farmer who is worrying about building bigger barns for his bountiful harvest whereas God is calling him to face final judgment.
Luke does not condemn wealth as such. What he does condemn is a preoccupation or obsession with riches that precludes a person’s need to place the awareness of others and of their needs at the top of one’s list of responsibilities.
When the gospel says that we have to choose between God and mammon, it’s asking us to declare where we finally put our trust. Wealth and talents can serve God’s purposes, but they must never replace God as the center of our attention in life. (Demetrius R. Dumm, O.S.B.)