The Nazareth Page - A gospel meditation for your home
September 22nd, 2019 – 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time - Luke 16:1-13
Today’s gospel is about people who had to change their lives because of new circumstances. We learn about a fellow who was given a pink slip by his employer, but before he cleaned out his desk, he made some deals with people who owned his master (the boss) some money. Since he still had the key to the employee’s bathroom, he still had some clout so he decided he would befriend those who owned money to his company, so he lowered their debt. He might need them later. He wanted to make the best of the change he was about to experience, namely unemployment.
While I would not advise doing what this so-called wise steward did, I have to admire his desire to make the best out of his new situation. He wasn’t going to move ahead by just sitting around. He looked in the mirror, admitted to what was ahead and make the appropriate moves to survive. For him, times were changing.
Jesus used this story to remind his followers, then and now, that each new day brings on new possibilities. The wise person does not live in the past, but more in the present and the future. We might call this approach “Christian realism.”
To be personal for a bit, for many decades I lived a very full life as a husband and parent, a teacher and writer and I travelled the world giving presentations mostly to church people about the spiritual richness of ordinary family life. For more than four decades I was fully active in all these roles. But then the circumstances of my life changed. Children left home to pursue new opportunities, I retired (mostly) from teaching and I no longer accumulated air miles giving presentations here and there. I still do some of those things but not nearly as much as I used to. For me circumstances changed.
So, I had to change and adjust. And it was not always easy. While there are benefits to aging (always ask for the senior discount), the satisfactions derived from a more active life and sometimes exciting work are now mostly in my past. Things that once gave me the feeling of being needed and valued are more memories than present day experiences. I now must seek God’s presence more in short walks, quiet evenings and writing this “Nazareth Page” which you are now reading. I am trying to adjust to new circumstances. That’s something we all are invited to do by God. Finding a new world filled with God’s presence and grace is still possible, but it might not be easy to do so.
©David M. Thomas, PhD
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Download this simple Observe-Judge-Act method for discussion with your family or your CFM group.