When the ghost of Jacob Marley appeared to Ebenezer Scrooge at the beginning of the book "A Christmas Carol" there was a long heavy chain wrapped around his body. The chain was "made of cash boxes, keys, padlocks, ledgers, deeds, and heavy purses wrought in steel."
Scrooge asked Jacob why he was fettered (chained).
The ghost replied" wear the chain forged in life. I made it link by link, and yard by yard; girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will wore it." The life of old Marley had been greedy to the end; now he is paying the price.
In our Gospel, the Lord exhorts his people to consider the use of their money and treasures. In the parable, a steward (administrator) has been caught squandering the goods of his master.
Seeing that his days were numbered, the steward uses his last hours as administrator to show mercy to others by relieving their debt. He was making sure that he would still have friends when he gets fired. Surprisingly, the master praises the steward for acting prudently.
The prudence of the steward is held up by the Lord as an example to us, the "children of the light." Like the steward, who used his master's wealth as if it were his own, we too must realize that all that we have, all that we gain, was never really and totally ours to begin with. It really and totally belongs to Our Master.
All the riches of the earth could never repay the debt we owe our Master. He paid it for us. Christ Jesus "gave himself as ransom for all" (1 Tim 2:6), we heard in the second reading.
God wills the salvations of all, even the lovers money. But he warns them, and us "No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon." (Luke 16:13)
Let us be "servants of the Lord," (Resp. Psalm). Riches, talents, abilities, power must be used in such a way that they are not obstacles to eternal life. We must not be, like Jacob Marley, chained to them.
Do not use your wealth to "trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land" as the Prophet Amos warns in the first reading. Make friends with the lowly and poor who will be your friends in heaven. Let us serve the Lord and help him to "lift the lowly from the dust." We do not get into heaven without the recommendation of the poor. Do this, and our Lord promises that we will gain what is ours be welcomed into "eternal dwellings." (Luke 16:9)
Thank you to all who worked and helped with the Fall Festival. May the work and effort we put into it help to build up this parish and advance the Kingdom of God.
God bless you all,
Father Robert Letona