The Gospel reading from the Mass for Friday of the 31st Week of Ordinary Time is Luke 16:1-8.

Continuing with a series of parables, Christ presents to His disciples the Parable of the Dishonest Steward which demonstrates the terrible consequences of dishonesty and the need for men to be prudent and have a sense of urgency about the coming Kingdom.

God (the Rich Man) grants to men (the Dishonest Steward) gifts (the Rich Man’s possessions) to oversee (to be stewards) with the expectation that He will receive a fruitful return (a return on the accounts). God (the Rich Man) is aware of men’s actions (earning a return or wasting goods) and rejects those who fail to gain an honest return (the steward is fired). Rather then repent and seek God’s mercy for sin, rebellious and sinful men (the Dishonest Steward) squander God’s gifts for their own earthly comfort (the Steward deceitfully bargains with the Rich Man’s creditors for future shelter).

Despite crediting dishonest men with initiative (the Rich Man commends the Dishonest Steward’s cunning), God rejects men who remain stuck in sin (the Dishonest Steward is still fired).  Christ explains (Luke 9-13) that men who sin (dishonesty in worldly things) can not be trusted with the riches of the Kingdom (true riches).  Men must choose to serve the master of the world (i.e. mammon, meaning “trusting in wealth”) or the ultimate Master, God; there is no middle ground, for men are not capable of doing both.

Awed by Jesus Christ – The omniscient Son of God, Christ speaks authoritatively about how God knows of and condemns the schemes of dishonest men.  Divine Teacher, Christ is the masterful orator whose parables and teachings are still repeated today (e.g. God/mammon). Divine King, referring to the Spiritual Combat, Christ reveals that men must choose between serving God and the world.  Divine Judge, Christ eludes to God’s judgment and punishment of the sinful.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) Many men foolishly believe that they have anonymity in their hidden thoughts and actions. Be awed (filled with holy dread) that every one of your thoughts, words and deeds are known by Christ and that Justice demands that each man be held to account.

2) While most men do not commit spectacular theft like the Dishonest Steward, many men steal in little ways (pirated music/videos, “fudging”on taxes, inflating costs/hours, using someone else’s login to get discounts, etc.). Reflect upon the 7th Commandment – Thou shall not Steal (CCC 2401-2463) and pray for Christ to help you recognize and make reparation for your past sins and to avoid future stealing.

3) Christ has placed within each man’s control financial resources for use in building the Kingdom (caring for one’s family, giving to the poor, supporting the Church, etc). Consider the Obligations of Stewardship (CCC 952-953,1926, 2042, 2122, 2218, 2228-2229, 2462) and pray for Christ to help you become a most excellent steward of what He has given to you.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Passion and Death of our Lord Jesus Christ

Virtue of the Day – Faith

Corporal Work of Mercy – To visit the sick

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To forgive all injuries