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Sept 23, 2001 25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Luke 16:1-13
Catholic Homilies
September 23rd, 2001

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25th Sunday in Ordinary Time Luke 16:1-13


Why the people who put together the lectionary try to crowd so much into one Sunday gospel is a matter for, to put it mildly, puzzlement. There are three separate parables in today's gospel, the story of the clever servant, the saying of the man who can be trusted in little things, and the saying about the two masters. All three of these pericopes are opaque. That we have heard them so many times doesn't make them any less opaque. The congregation shakes its head and pays no attention to what seems very bizarre and strange language from Jesus. Perhaps the parable (which for some other puzzling reason is omitted in the shorter reading) is the most interesting and challenging topic for preaching. Jesus is patently not approving of dishonesty. He is rather using the shrewdness of the crooked servant as a model for how shrewd we ought to be in His service, planning, conniving, and concentrating intensely.

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This is a story about a shrewd daughter-in-law. Once upon a time there were three adult children who continued, even after they were grown and away from their parents, to engage in sibling rivalry. The Mom, a well –to-do widow, nurtured this rivalry by praising the good deeds of her favorite of the week to the other children. When the son tended to ignore most of his mother’s manipulations, she tried to draw her daughter-in-law into the triangles she created with veiled promises of special gifts, often monetary. At first, the daughter-in-law was horrified about all of this. Here her mother-in law, who was a pillar of the church, was trying to drag her into a web of family conflicts and her husband refused to do anything about it. Eventually, she realized why her husband had grown tired of his mother’s antics. Still she didn’t think it fair that the mom used the promise of money to keep her children at her beck and call and turn them against each other. So she spoke with her sister-in-laws and got them to see what the Mom was doing. She suggested that they all ignore what she said about each family member, but not try to change the Mom. After all, there was a considerable fortune to be shared. They agreed.

* by Dr. Mary Durkin

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After all, there was a considerable fortune to be shared
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