Sunday, September 22, 2013

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker
By Father Perry D. Leiker

T.S. Eliot’s famous line seems to fit the Gospel perfectly today: “The last temptation is the greatest treason; to do the right thing for the wrong reason.”

Yet Jesus doesn’t seem to agree. He praises the dishonest and imprudent steward for doing just that. In the midst of hearing that his boss would be firing him for his careless stewardship, the steward very prudently makes a decision that changes both his present and his future. He decides to forgo his corrupt practice of usury (taking an exorbitant percentage of interest) and, therefore, forgoes money and comfort in the present.

He does so, however, prudently providing for the future. He looses instant money gratification for the future possibility of new employment. He impresses others by lessoning their debts to his master, giving them an opportunity to pay it all off, and showing them how skilled and efficient he could be. All this is done for the wrong reason, and yet Jesus compliments for his savvy stewardship. He, perhaps for the first time, used his resources carefully and cleverly, proving his ability to be prudent.

It is that "prudence with resources" that Jesus praises. It is his "good stewardship" that Jesus recognizes and teaches for all to hear.

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; or email pleiker@stbernard-church.com.

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