By Fr. Thiago, sx –
The parable of the unfaithful servant, in chapter 16 of Luke´s Gospel, and also the first reading from the prophet Amos, show us some realities which are very much present in our time as well – unfortunately! Not rarely do we come across news about corruption, injustice, exploitation and so on whenever reading newspapers and watching the television. In these days of a neoliberal economy, there are a growing number of people excluded from the system and such people have no part in it or its benefits. It’s unbelievable, but a minority of the world’s population (17%) consumes most of the world’s resources (80%), leaving almost 5 billion people to live on the remaining 20%. As a result of such unequal system, billions of people are living without the very basic necessities of life – food, water, housing and sanitation.
In this context, it’s easy to wonder: “Why God does not do anything in order to stop this situation?” Actually, we should invert this question and ask ourselves: “What have we been doing with the task that God gave us to be his stewards, keeping this world as a house for all man and woman to live in with dignity?” When God created the world he saw that everything in it was good, and he entrusted this good world to the cares of human beings. But, as egoism and greed arise in their hearts, they forget their task of being stewards of God’s creation, thus falling into the trap of power and domain, which generate devastating consequences.
Therefore, today God is the one asking us: “What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship.” In asking this, God is also praying to us, asking us a sign of our humanity. Michel Boujenah, a French actor, once affirmed: “From the dawn of time I listen to the prayer of men, I’d love that, for once, the men listen to the prayer of God. The prayer of God to the human being! I would love…” God’s prayer to us should impel us to put all our effort in keeping this world as a good place for all; it should lead us to use our intelligence and creativity in order to keep this world as a house for all by promoting solidarity and justice. That is why the steward of the parable was praised by his lord, not because of his dishonest behavior, but because of his intelligence and readiness in solving the problem.
In being God’s stewards, we should never get discouraged, because he is not indifferent to the situations which destroy human dignity. He continues seeing the misery of his people, hearing their cry, knowing their sufferings, and thus he continues coming down, through all those who are committed with life, to rescue them. We can be always sure of God’s presence and God’s strength helping us in the construction of his Kingdom and nourishing our hope of new earth and new heaven.
From the writings of Saint Guido
«All that is found in man is of God and comes from God; if we strike a man it is God we are attacking in one of his works. Is not the artist present in the painting he has created? Would he not take it as a personal insult if his painting were to be disfigured or defaced? We are the divine craftsman’s work par excellence, He has carved his image and likeness in us and, therefore, He is wounded and dishonored by anything that alters us, takes away the splendor of the divine beauty reflected in us by grace, or which deprives us of the supernatural life and participation in the life of God.»
(1917, 25 December, Parma – Cathedral)