Friday, November 6, 2015

“It is mercy, not justice or courage or even heroism that alone can defeat evil.”

“I am sure of God's hand and guidance... You must never doubt that I am thankful and glad to go the way which I am being led. My past life is abundantly full of God's mercy and, above all sin, stands the forgiving love of the Crucified.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer: (1906 – 1945: German Lutheran pastor, theologian, anti-Nazi dissident, and martyr)
Gospel Text: (Lk 16:1-8)
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward
who was reported to him for squandering his property.
He summoned him and said,
‘What is this I hear about you?
Prepare a full account of your stewardship,
because you can no longer be my steward.’
The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do,
now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me?
I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg.
I know what I shall do so that,
when I am removed from the stewardship,
they may welcome me into their homes.’
He called in his master’s debtors one by one.
To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note.
Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’
Then to another he said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’
He replied, ‘One hundred measures of wheat.’
He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note;
write one for eighty.’
And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently.
For the children of this world
are more prudent in dealing with their own generation
than the children of light.”

I have read this gospel over time and again and it just doesn’t seem to fit into the scheme of how the kingdom of God should be.  Remember, this is a story Jesus tells. We may even ask, “Why is it that someone who cheats others gets rewarded by the master”?  We would never hold this up as an ideal for our children, which may be why this is one of those frequently overlooked gospels.
Jesus’ point is that this dishonest steward is capable of extending mercy to others simply because he understands the concept of extending mercy.  He understands the concept so well, that he can extend mercy which doesn’t belong to him.  He can extend his master’s mercy.  Subsequently, if this dishonest steward can understand the extension of mercy to others, then why is it we have such a difficult time extending mercy?  Do we believe the mercy we extend has to be in our own personal spiritual bank accounts?  Could we extend to others our master’s mercy? 
Concepts such as extending mercy, reciprocity, generativity, and even compassion don’t make much sense in an economy of greed and personal gain.    But if this is the kingdom of God, then our concepts must rise to new levels.

1 comment:

  1. Nailed it. We can extend our Father's mercy, even when we don't feel much like doing so. Nailed it. :)