Nobody Does It Better
Homily for the Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Preached on September 21-22, 2013 at Saint Andrew Catholic Church, Harrodsburg KY, Saint Mary Catholic Church, Perryville KY, and Saint Margaret Mary Catholic Church, Louisville KY
Readings: Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8; 1 Timothy 2:1-8; Luke 16:1-13
It is not the villain that James Bond should be worried about. That one might be the megalomaniacal mastermind out to destroy the world as we know it, yet, even he has a way of coming through towards the end: he unwittingly helps out our hero by divulging to him his secret plans before he tries to kill him. Agent 007 should really watch out for the mole who is out to betray him. That is the one to whom he had confided his own plans and who, unbeknownst to him, is out to make his mission impossible.
The trouble with any mole is that nobody knows which side he is on until it is too late. But, more often than not, a double agent is really out for himself: to exact his own revenge, to extort more money, or to pump up his bruised ego. He wants to cut a better deal than the one that his boss has to offer. So, he works behind the scenes, plays both parties, and sells out to the highest bidder.
The steward in the parable is no different from a mole: he too is just out for himself. He is too lazy to work another job; he is too proud to ask for help (cf. Lk. 16:3). He may not have betrayed his master to a nemesis, but he is not looking out for his interests either. He does not realize that what he does proves that his master’s accusation against him are true: he cannot be trusted with his master’s business (cf. Lk. 16:1). He never cares for his master or anybody else; he cares only for himself.
“No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other” (Lk. 16:13). In the world of James Bond, a double agent chooses the boss who offers him a bigger slice of the pie. In the world of the parable, the steward is out to serve himself because he is convinced that he could no longer count on his master.
But, thank God, none of us lives in the parable world of the dishonest steward or in the spy world of Agent 007.
The dishonest steward tries to get even with a master who is too quick to drop him. But, we have a Master who always looks out for us; “from His fullness we have all received grace upon grace” (Jn. 1:16). “Although He is rich, [our Master] became poor for [our] sake, so that by His poverty [we] might become rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).
The mole in the world of espionage is still out shopping for a better deal. But, we know that there is no better deal than the one that our Lord offers us. Nobody does it half as good as our God does.
With a Master so generous, we can afford to give more of ourselves to our neighbor, especially to those in need. With a Lord so trustworthy, we have no reason to ever consider being a double agent, for nothing, not the even the almighty dollar, can ever hope to outdo the lavishness of the Almighty God.
Sometimes, it might feel like the Lord is sending us, His trusted agents, out to accomplish a mission impossible: to fulfill His will that everyone be saved and come to the knowledge of the truth (cf. 1 Tm. 2:4). Yet, He already has assured us, “For men it is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Mt. 19:26).
With Someone like Him on our side, surely we would be fools to count on anything else to get us through.