Sunday Gospel Reflection
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 16:1-13 | September 18, 2022
JM Nuqui, Campus Minister
More than 2 years of no exercise or basketball because of the pandemic meant added weight (a lot!) for me. So, to get back into shape and be physically fit again, I enrolled myself in a fitness gym. The first months were easy. Full of motivation and eagerness, I’d wake up at 4:30 in the morning, eat my protein bar, and head right away to the gym. However, after some time, my progress started to slow down. The everyday going to the gym became a once-a-week routine – hanggang sa tuluyan na natigil. Pero nakabalik naman ako. Kaso, ngayon, mas naging mainipin na. I noticed that I became impatient. I wanted to see results right away.
This experience reminded me of a video I saw on social media. It was a short clip, more or less a minute long. I’m sure most of the youth among here are very familiar with this line from the clip. It goes something like this: Bibilhin ko na ‘to ngayon. Kasi kahit na hindi ko pa deserve ngayon, baka deserve ko na ‘to next week, or next month. To be honest, napatawa ako ng clip na ‘yun – hanggang sa naging biruan na rin sa aming mga magkakaibigan.
Sadly, some of us (myself very much included) have become impatient in one way or another. Instant results. Instant food and coffee. Instant success. Instant college degree. Some of our elders would even say, “young people today expect giant returns for dwarfish efforts.” Para bang hindi na napapaalalahan ng mga salawikain natin tulad ng ‘pag may tiyaga, may nilaga,’ at ‘habang maikli pa ang kumot, matututong mamaluktot.’ Gusto agad-agad, no matter the process, no matter who we hurt along the way, as long as it’s fast and instant.
My dear brothers and sisters, we hear in today’s Gospel Jesus saying, “Whoever is faithful in very little is faithful also in much, and whoever is dishonest in very little is dishonest also in much.” Yes, while the parable today delivers a theme on money, it also says a lot on faithfulness and stewardship. To be faithful and honest in little things means to accept and ground ourselves in something that has remained unchanged since the beginning of time – na ang pinakamahalagang bagay sa buhay ay bunga ng mga maliliit ngunit patuloy na pagsusumikap at pagtitiwala sa Diyos. To be God’s steward – may it be of talents, people, resources, gifts, or capacities – is to be trusting and faithful to the God of promise. If only we are as faithful as our God, we need not to be shrewd like the dishonest manager in the parable. It’s our honesty and faithfulness in the small, everyday things that allow us to go through certain heights. Sapagkat ang taong nakakapagkamit ng mga pinakamahahalagang bagay sa buhay – sa kabila ng napakaraming kakulangan – ay ang taong patuloy na nagsusumikap habang buong pusong nagtitiwala sa Diyos.
“You cannot serve both God and [unrighteous] mammon,” Jesus adds. The word “mammon” came from the Aramaic word which originally means “that in which one puts one’s trust.” Sometimes in our desire for instant gratification, we put our trust and fate in those which could generate the instant and fastest income and results for us. Mga thesis sa Recto. Mga fixer sa pagkuha ng government IDs at documents. We hear a lot of investment scams dahil nagtiwala sa pangako na mabilisang paglago ng pera. At sa mga nakalipas na taon, nakakalungkot man isipin, ngunit pati ang pagsugpo ng mga krimen sa bansa ay gusto instant ding pagkitil ng buhay. All of this show how we’ve grown tired of doing it the Lord’s way – the long, arduous, honest way. The opposite is also true. Sa hindi natin pagtitiwala sa Diyos, nakakalimutan natin na tayo ay katiwala lamang ng mga biyayang ipinagkaloob niya. Human weakness and experiences tell us how those who have more still crave and desire for more – grabe umako, humangad, at ipagkait ang hindi naman talaga sa atin. If we are just stewards of these talents, how come children are abused and exploited? How come women are used for desires and sexual appetites? How come mountain ranges – one of our natural defenses against heavy rains – are shaved of its trees? And how come money and possessions are hoarded to the point of depriving others of what should’ve been theirs?
Brothers and sisters, to be faithful and honest stewards is to be trusting to our God of promise. Minsan dahil sa mga karanasan natin ng pagkabigo, minsan dahil sa dami ng tunggalian sa puso natin, minsan dahil sa mga karanasan natin ng hindi pagtupad, ay nahihirapan na tayo maniwala sa mga pangakong ibinibigay sa atin. But the Lord always remembers. Despite of our worries, doubts, fears, unbelief, and resolve to instant gratifications, the Lord continues to be faithful to His promises to us. Buti na lang at hindi nakadepende sa ating disposiyon ang pagtupad ng pangako ng Diyos. Lahat ay grasya. Lahat ay nagmula sa pawang kabutihan ng Diyos. Lahat ay mula sa dakilang pag-ibig niya sa atin. With God’s unconditional positive regard for us, doesn’t it make us wonder sometimes, who is serving whom?