Friday of the 31st Week of the Year

Luke 16:1-8

The Parable of the Dishonest Steward


Our gospel reading for today is all being smart and clever. The shrewd manager, sensing that he is in danger of losing his job, finally hits on the right strategy and begins turning the proverbial table in his favor. How well if we who are devout would also be as shrewd. Unfortunately, it is not rarely that our devotion fails to rise higher than external piety; it is not improbable that this show of faith will lead us not far enough to our desired reward.

In this connection, we may well recall the existential philosopher, Blaise Pascal, who suggests that we emulate at a times the shrewd tactician at the gaming table. This life is a gamble, he says, and we have no choice but to place our stakes at the “winningest” options, no matter what the cost. And the cost is high, if we believe the man on the cross. (Bro. Romy Abulad, SVD Bible Diary 2002)


Once there lived a poor mother and her son. When he grew up, he fell in love with a woman who was not serious about him. He told her he would do anything she ask if only she would marry him. Half in jest, she told him: “I will only marry you if you cut out your mother’s heart and bring it to me. Only in this way can you prove your love.” In the darkness of the night he went into his mother’s room, took from his belt a knife and plunged it into her breast. He cut her heart and run with bloodstained hands towards the home of his loved one. As he ran with the heart of his mother in his hands, he stumbled and fell. His mother’s heart said to him: “Be careful, my son.”

The son wrongly believed that if only he could get the heart of his mother he would win the heart of the woman he loved.

“Be careful my son…” It was as though his mother was gently reminding him: “”be careful where you put your heart, my son.”

In today’s gospel, the master praises the steward not for his dishonesty but for his prudence.

Jesus is teaching us today that if we are to be real and effective children of light we need to be decisive, creative and wise in spending our time and effort in following God’s as we carry out our worldly activities. (SSpS Bible Diary 2004)


Somebody once said that religion has more to do with “pocketbook” than prayer book. In today’s parable, this statement is applicable. It may sound confusing, scandalous and difficult to interpret as Bible scholar suggest but the gospel offers us an insight to Christian stewardship.

We admit that money is something that people acquire and lose. Thus, it does not make anyone greater. Money is not a bad thing as long as we use it as a means to facilitate exchanges.

We are surprised that the dishonest manager was praised by his master for his clever trickery. The master was the loser because his own manager was actually cheating him.

In spite of this, he congratulated the deceitful manager for his cleverness. So was the owner himself dishonest?

We are not owners but administrators of our wealth and resources. We use them to give glory of our wealth and resources. We use them to give glory to His Name. In short, how we use “money” involves not just finances and talents but our spiritual growth. In our lives, is money a useful servant or a harsh master?

“Lord, teach us the wisdom of Christian stewardship and accountability, to use things wisely and to love people more generously! Amen.” (Fr. Romy Castro, SVD Bible Diary 2009)


November 4, 2016 Friday

Let us do our work with honesty and integrity.

The Post Courier and The National are the two major newspapers in Papua New Guinea (PNG). And like any newspapers they contain news around the country and the world. For the past weeks, the headlines have been about some government ministers accused of misappropriation, bribery and corruption, and at least 3 of them were convicted.

PNG is gifted with huge deposits of oil and gas, a rich country, but many say the money goes to a few individuals. The evidence: bad roads, dilapidated infrastructures, poor hospitals, shortage of classrooms for students, delayed payments and salaries, etc.

On the other hand, the government claims that country has a booming economy, thanks to a few individuals who sacrificed for this end. This situation shows the government’s untiring effort to uplift the people’s lives, and to promote honesty and integrity as a tool for improvements and avoidance of corruption.

Whatever big or small job we have is a gift entrusted to us by God, hence we are called to do it right, with honesty and integrity, and the best we can. Then we expect the fruits of our labor as righteous in the eyes of God and of people. Honest people are rewarded on earth and in heaven. (Fr. Ronie B. Teman, SVD | Papua New Guinea Bible Diary 2016)


by Dennis Hamm, S.J. Theology Department

Dedication of the Lateran Basilica in Rome
Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
Psalm 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
John 2:13-22

Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Daily Reflections from a Student’s Point of View

Do you not know that you are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone destroys God’s temple, God will destroy that person; for the temple of God, which you are, is holy.I Cor 3:16-17.

This is one of my favorite examples for showing the importance of reading a biblical passage in context. Read without reference to the first three and a half chapters of Paul’s letter, these two verses lend themselves to a variety of meanings. I have heard these verses applied to smoking, sexual abuse, and suicide. Given Paul’s application of the temple metaphor to the individual human body in his treatment of sexual infidelity in chapter six of this same letter, it makes sense that people read these verses in chapter three in that context.

Respect for one’s physical person, however, is not the subject in this early part of the letter to the Corinthians. In these early chapters, Paul is addressing the way the Corinthian Christians are dividing the body of the community with their rivalries and factions.

One hindrance to understanding Paul correctly in this passage is that the English word “you” is ambiguous; that is, it can apply to an individual or to a group. (Southerners have solved this by using “y’all” when they address several people.) This is not a problem in Paul’s Greek. Greek has one pronoun for addressing an individual, sy, and another pronoun for addressing a group, hymeis. Paul uses the plural here. Drawing upon an early Christian understanding of the community as the new sacred space, the new temple (indeed, the fulfillment of Ezekiel’s prophecy contained in the today’s first reading), and he is reminding them that the Holy Spirit dwells among them as community (“among you [plural]”). Thus their factious divisions are destroying the temple of God—a serious matter indeed.

Hearing Paul’s words in context helps us hear his challenge to our factious Christian community as well. Ironically, our relationships with our “separated brethren” of other Christian denominations are often more harmonious and civil than the divisions within our local denominational communities. I hear some of my fellow Catholics use the word “orthodox” in a more-orthodox-than-thou manner. And the good words “conservative” and “liberal” are sometimes used is a way of dismissing community members who “disagree with me.” Reading this passage in Paul’s obvious context can provide an opportunity to rest from preoccupation with other body issues for a moment and hear this scriptural challenge to deal with how we “destroy the temple of God” with our sometimes divisive ways of treating one another.

In this regard, Saint Ignatius of Loyola has a helpful hint at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises:

That both the giver and the maker of the Spiritual Exercises may be of greater help and benefit to each other, it should be presupposed that every good Christian ought to be more eager to put a good interpretation on a neighbor’s statement than to condemn it. Further, if one cannot interpret it variably, one should ask how the other means it. If that meaning is wrong, one should correct the person with love; and if this is not enough, one should search out every appropriate means through which, by understanding the statement in a good way, it may be saved.

This can be a great help in keeping the temple of the community intact.



The owner praised his dishonest manager for being enterprising – astute, smart. This statement is quite a puzzle. How can a cheated owner still praise his dishonest manager?

The manager was smart on two counts:

  • First, the dishonest manager was enterprising in that up to the last moment he was making efforts to make of himself a “friend” to the owner. The manager knew the Jewish law prohibited a Jew from making money from interest on loans to fellow Jews. Hence in cancelling the interests, he was, in a way, saving the owner from any court case.
  • Second, the dishonest manager was obviously making friends with the debtors of the owner by reducing the exorbitant interests. Anyone with debts would appreciate any reduction made on interests, I suppose.

The point of Jesus is this: If we try very hard to succeed in business, in friendships, and in various concerns of earthly life, are we also exerting the same effort when it comes to our eternal end? (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday 2006 p. 321-322)


DOING THE RIGHT THING. The man we hear about in the gospel is in serious trouble.  His life and employment are at stake.  Someone has been telling the owner that the steward of his affairs has been doing “dirty business.” The owner will have none of this in his company and so ask for an account of the manager’s affairs. The manager will no longer hold his position.  He will lose his job and will be in a rough time. The man is in a crisis. What will he do?

Jesus is pointing out to us in this story the shrewdness of the manager. He knows that his life in the business is about to end. He has thought about his future. Now he seeks to make things right so other employees may welcome him. “I will scratch your back if you scratch mine” is a common phrase. This is the “utang na loob,” the favour for favour. He is shrewd, wise and clever. He perceives and he acts. Too bad, he loses his job. At least he will have some sense of security even if he loses the security of his employment. He goes about reducing debts from his fellowmen. Whether he was giving away what is rightfully owed the master or if he was reducing overpriced debts, he turns out to be very wise in his dealings.

The point that Jesus is making through this parable is that the people of God should be zealous in the affairs of God. We should act wisely. Prudence is a gift of the Holy Spirit, one of the cardinal virtues. We need to be cunning as serpents and wise as doves. Prudence tells us that we should be practical in affairs and cautious in our undertakings. The prudent man looks where he is going (Prov. 14:15). To be prudent is to discern the good in a given circumstance and the right means of achieving it (CCC no. 1806). The above-mentioned gospel is an example of this. He wants to save his life (good) and takes the effort of reducing the debts (right means). Do we practice prudence in our dealings with others? Do we consider the future of our wellbeing? What steps do we take to ensure that our life is in the hands of God? (Fr. Brian Steele, MGL SABBATH Scripture Meditation for Daily Life November 4, 2011 p. 315)


Parable of the Dishonest Servant: A student asked: “Why did Jesus praise a crook for being dishonest?”

A second student replied: “Jesus didn’t praise him for being dishonest. He praised him for having foresight. There’s a big difference.”

The second student is right. The owner in the parable praised the foresight of the servant. He didn’t praise his dishonesty.

That brings to the point Jesus wishes to teach us. We should exercise the same kind of foresight that the servant did. We should use our time and talent in this life to prepare for the next life.

How much foresight are we demonstrating in preparing for the next life?

Lord, help us live in this world as though it were only a temporary stopover, not a lasting home, (Fr. Mark Link SJ, Illustrated Daily Homilies Weekdays, 1987: 286).


WORD Today (Rom 15:14-21; Lk 16:1-8): A cheating manager is ordered by his master to render accounting of the goods in his charge. And we too must accounting to God. We too are guilty of cheating on God. But God’s love will prevail over the demands of justice, if we too make God’s command to love prevail over our demands for justice (Mt 6:15).

Like the manager, we too can ‘cheat’ and escape God’s justice by helping reduce the debts that others owe to God. The shrewd manager deducted him commissions from the amounts owed by his master’s debtors. We can do this by forgiving those who hurt us and forgo justice, thus we lighten their payables. God will smile if we cheat by going to confession. And will earn His forgiveness. Let’s act quickly! (Fr. Iko Bajos, Nov 8, 2013).


FRIDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR A) – LUKAS 16:1-8. Unsa may atong makat-onan sa sambingay sa Malimbongon nga Piniyalan? Gidayeg ni Hesus ang piniyalan dili tungod sa iyang mangil-ad nga pagdumala sa kabtangan sa iyang agalon kondili sa iyang inantigo nga paglikay sa kadaot nga iya untang mahiagoman tungod sa iyang sala. Pinaagi ning sambingay si Kristo naghagit kanato sa pag-inantigo sa pagdumala sa atong espirituhanong kinabuhi. Kon ang tawo nga kalibutanon makamaong moluwas sa iyang kaugalingon, kita nga nagpuyo sa kahayag makamao usab unta nga molihok para sa atong kaluwasan. Ang Dios adunay plano para sa atong kinabuhi. Apan, ang yawa aduna usay plano para kanato. Andam ba ang atong kaugalingon aning duha? Magmaalamon unta kita nga mopili asa niini ang atong dawaton ug asa ang atong kontrahon. Posted by Abet Uy


Thursday, November 3, 2016

FRIDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME – LUKAS 16:1-8. UNSA MAY MENSAHE SA SAMBINGAY SA MALIMBONGONG PINIYALAN? Gidayeg ni Hesus ang piniyalan dili tungod sa iyang mangil-ad nga pagdumala sa kabtangan sa iyang agalon, kondili sa iyang inantigo nga paglikay sa kadaot nga iya untang mahi-agoman tungod sa pagpakasala. Pinaagi ning sambingay, si Kristo naghagit kanato sa pag-inantigo sa pagdumala sa atong espirituhanong kinabuhi. Kon ang tawo nga kalibotanon makamaong moluwas sa iyang kaugalingon, kita nga mga anak sa kahayag makamao usab unta nga molihok para sa atong kaluwasan. Usa ka magsusulat ang mipasabot ug mihagit kanato: “God has a plan for our life. But, the devil also has a plan for our life. Are we ready for both? May we be wise enough to know which one to battle and which one to embrace.” Posted by Abet Uy


Friday, November 6, 2015

FRIDAY OF THE 31ST WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 16:1-8. UNSA MAY KALAINAN SA MGA ANAK SA KALIBOTAN UG SA MGA ANAK SA KAHAYAG? Masayran nato kini pinaagi sa pagsusi sa duha ka butang: ang sentro ug ang tumong sa atong gibuhat. Kon ang atong hunahuna, pagbati ug kusog anaa ra nagpunting sa mga kalibotanong butang sama sa kwarta, negosyo, balay, sakyanan, malagmit nagpuyo na kita isip mga anak sa kalibotan. Apan, kon ang atong hunahuna, pagbati ug kusog anaa nakasentro sa mga espirituhanong butang sama sa paghigugma, pagtabang, pagpasaylo, ug pagmaki-angayon, malagmit nagkinabuhi na kita isip mga anak sa kahayag. Ang mga anak sa kalibotan magtinguha lamang og unsay ilang madawat para sa kaugalingon. Apan ang tumong sa mga anak sa kahayag mao ang ilang mahatag sa uban gikan sa ilang kaugalingon. Posted by Abet Uy


Reflection for Friday November 7, Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time; Luke 16:1-8 Reflection: Why was the steward removed from his position as the fund manager of his master? Because he became complacent and negligent on his job. Otherwise if he did his job competently he would have not been removed but he became complacent.

On the surface it may seem that the only issue here is the incompetence of the steward. But in a deeper sense there is a lesson that we could all learn from the steward. When he learned that he was suddenly to be removed fear suddenly set-in to him. He was worried about his future for the reason that he would be without a job.

Therefore to ingrain a debt of gratitude from their debtors and to assure his survival he collected their debts with a discount. With the fervent hope that they would take care of him when he is finally dismissed from his job.  On the first debtor he discounted fifthly and on the second he discounted twenty. Suddenly this complacent steward became very creative because what was at stake was his very survival.

We are also being reminded to be creative not in assuring our survival in this world. For the simple reason that all that we have in this world are all temporary and passing. We are reminded to be creative in sharing our faith in Jesus most specially during this time wherein technology is very advance.

Let us therefore creatively harness the many social media portals that are available at our disposal to continuously share Jesus. For this will assure us of survival not in this world anymore but our survival after our lives in this world is over and done with already. – Marino J. Dasmarinas


Friday, November 6, 2015

Reflection for November 6, Friday of the Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time: Luke 16:1-8


Are you a good steward of the Lord? A steward in the context of our gospel is someone who manages properties on behalf of somebody else. The steward in our gospel did not measure-up to his job so his master decided to replace him.

What is the lesson for us, we who are mere stewards of the blessings of the Lord? We should always be good stewards of the blessings that the Lord has given us. For example, the riches that we have, we should use it not only for ourselves we should also share it most especially share it with those who can’t pay back our generosity.

The same with our God given abilities let us not only use it for ourselves. Let us also use it so that others may benefit from it. For example if we think that our Good given ability is to write or to speak let us not only use it for our own profit. Let us also use it to advance the teachings of Jesus in this world.

The mistake of the steward in our gospel is he squandered not only the property of his master. He also did not value the trust and confidence that his master gave him.

Our Lord and Master is Jesus, let us not misuse whatever properties that He gave us. And let us not ruin the trust and confidence that He gave us.

Are we effective stewards of Jesus? – Marino J. Dasmarinas


GOOD OVER EVIL? NO BRAINER! “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Luke 16:8). This summarizes the message of the parable as told by Jesus.

The New American Bible entitled this reading, “The Parable of the Dishonest Steward.” It would seem that Jesus was praising the steward’s “dishonesty.” How can Jesus tolerate, much more praise, dishonesty? If we examine the parable, Jesus was pointing out the shrewdness of the steward because of his impending disaster. Since he had committed a big mistake in the business entrusted to him, he was bound to lose his job and more. Thus, anticipating that he will be financially miserable, he went out and convinced his master’s debtors to pay less than what they owed. In the process, his master’s debtors would see that gesture as gratuity and goodwill. With that recognition, he may be able to ask favors from them in the future.

Jesus wanted the “children of light”(the good ones) to adopt the shrewdness of the “children of this world”(the bad ones). In other words, in the same way that the children of the world are willing to use everything they have, including immoral ways, to secure their future, the “children of light” should also use every God-given talent and good ways to be in God’s favor. If evil is serious in its craft and determined to succeed, the good should also be equally, if not more, serious and determined to succeed. With God on our side, we are bound to succeed and achieve more.

In the Philippines, there are many Filipinos who possess extraordinary skills and exemplary expertise, especially in scams and crimes of deception. Jesus expects the same from good people. If they will work as hard, they will achieve more. If good people will be lax, evil will easily triumph. God never abandons us, but we must do our part. If God is with us, evil cannot stand against us! Fr. Benny Tuazon

REFLECTION QUESTION: Do you use every God-given talent that you have in fulfilling your mission in life?

Lord, may I have the determination and perseverance to do good, no matter what.


ON CHRISTIAN STEWARDSHIP – Every Sunday at Mass, we proclaim in the Apostle’s Creed, “I believe in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth.” The Nicene Creed’s version is more insightful. It goes: “We believe in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is seen and unseen.”

“Of all that is seen and unseen” — God owns everything, not only thevisible world but even the invisible. Nothing escapes His authority. The Christian God is not just one deity among many others. God is beyond the world. No one and nothing therefore is beyond God’s province and provenance. It is also within this framework that we should understand the biblical principle, “Give unto Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). What is Caesar’s? Limited jurisdiction. What is God’s? Unlimited jurisdiction and boundless allegiance.

The Gospel parable speaks of a rich man who calls on his manager to make an accounting of all his property. God is the rich  man. We are all His managers. If God owns everything, then even as managers we are but stewards. Everything that we have, we possess only in borrowed time, in limited fashion. Since we are but stewards, we will face the owner during the time of reckoning. There will be a time of accounting.

As tenants and stewards of God’s gifts, we are given the privilege to dispose of God’s wonderful creation. The question we need to ask is this: Did my enjoyment of God’s bounty take the direction of responsible use or did it take the path of misuse and abuse? One way to determine the answer is to imagine ourselves at the end of our life’s journey. Christian writer Rick Warren proposes an insightful imagery: “When your time comes, can you say  like Jesus, ‘It is finished,’ or would you say, ‘I am finished.’” “It is finished” means mission accomplished. “I am finished” means mission failed.

Fellow steward, what will it be for you?Fr. Joel Jason

REFLECTION QUESTION: Today make an inventory of your economic, physical and spiritual assets and assess if they have been well-managed.

At the sunset of my life, may I gladly face You, O Lord, and say, “It is finished.” Amen.


November 6, 2015

Friday of the 31st Week in the Ordinary Time

Rom 15: 14-21,  Lk 16: 1-8

Success of the Mission Requires Shrewdness

While giving practical tips to his disciples about their mission Jesus told them, “Be shrewd like serpents and innocent like doves.” The same lesson is explained using the parable of the “shrewd man” in today’s Gospel. The master in the parable does not approve the manipulation by the manager, but he appreciates his shrewdness. Jesus does not approve any kind of manipulation in the process adopted for the mission, but he wants his followers to be shrewd while being sincere.

The implication of the parable is very much applicable to the situation of the Church in India, particularly north India. Ever since the BJP government came to power at the centre the Muslims and Christians are targeted through various actions by the government like beef ban, cancellation of registration under Foreign Contribution Registration Act of many organizations, appointment of RSS ideologues as the head of cultural and educational bodies and silence and inaction by the government against hate speech by the ministers, MPs and other hot heads of Sagnh Parivar, attacking and destroying churches and lynching of innocent persons on the rumour of killing cow. An atmosphere of terror is being created in the country by the Hindutva outfits. We the disciples of Jesus appear to be clueless on how to face the onslaughts of the Hindutva protagonists.

One of the accusations by the Hidutvavadies against the Christians is that our allegiance is not to the nation but to a foreign power, the Vatican. Another allegation is that we are alienated from the culture of the country. Lack shrewdness on the part of Christians appears to be one of the reasons for giving rise to these allegations. When we enter into any bishop’s house or religious house in India what we see is the photos of Pope, saints, bishops, and founders of religious congregations etc, all in foreign attire. Recently I visited a major seminary. At the entrance one can see the photo of pope and two cardinals. No photo of the national leaders could be seen even in the reception rooms. What is the impression a Hindu visitor who comes to our institutions get?

Even the public institutions like schools and colleges exhibit only a few photos of national leaders. The walls of the school compound are decorated with quotations from bible. Why can’t we include quotations from the other scriptures conveying the same message? We teach the children of our boarding houses, including Hindu children to greet the guests with “Jay Yesu”. Why not we teach them to use common greetings like “Namste”, Good Morning etc? When one opens the school magazines the first few pages are decorated with the photos of pope, cardinals, bishops, founder of the congregation etc, all in foreign attire. Many priests and nuns compel Hindu children of the boarding houses/hostels to participate in the Holy Mass and other Christian prayers. Why not we organize inter-religious prayers for the students who are not Christians? Fr. Jacob Peenickaparambil CMI


November 04, 2016

Before the apostle Paul’s time, in 42 B.C. to be exact, the city of Philippi became a Roman colonia or colony (Acts 16:12) having a large population of Roman veterans. It was subject to Roman law. And so, although residing at Philippi, the Philippians’ citizenship was in Rome, their true city of origin.

This situation forms the background of Paul’s statement: “Our citizenship is in heaven.” By this statement, Paul is making a parallel between the Philippians’ relationship to heaven as Christians, and their relationship with Rome as Roman citizens living in a Roman colony. He says that Christians constitute a colony of heaven, just as Philippi was a colony of Rome. In other words, Paul is saying that heaven is the Christians’ real home, their real patria or fatherland, because their Father, God, resides there in glory.

For many Christians it might come as a surprise to be told that they do not belong to earth, that here they are strangers or tourists or passers-by. All their energies are concentrated on making a lot of money and having fun. Tell them that this earth is not their real home, and they will laugh at you. Boy, are they in for a surprise when they reach heaven!


See Today’s Readings:  Year I,   Year II

Back to: Friday of the 31st Week of the Year

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