St. Peter's Square
Sunday, 22 September 2019
Dear brothers and sisters, good morning!
The parable contained in this Sunday's Gospel (cf. Lk 16: 1-13) has as its protagonist a clever and dishonest administrator who, accused of having squandered the assets of the master, is about to be fired. In this difficult situation, he does not recriminate, he does not seek justification or let himself be discouraged, but he devises a way out to ensure a peaceful future. At first it reacts with lucidity, recognizing its limits: "Hoe, I don't have the strength; begging, I am ashamed "(v. 3); then he acts with cunning, robbing his master for the last time. In fact, he calls the debtors and reduces the debts they have towards the master, to make them friends and then be rewarded by them. This is making friends with corruption and getting gratitude with corruption, as unfortunately it is customary today.
Jesus presents this example certainly not to exhort to dishonesty, but to shrewdness. In fact he emphasizes: "The master praised that dishonest administrator, because he had acted with cunning" (v. 8), that is with that mixture of intelligence and cunning, which allows you to overcome difficult situations. The key to reading this story lies in Jesus' invitation at the end of the parable: "Make friends with dishonest wealth, for when they fail, they welcome you to eternal dwellings" (v. 9). This seems a little confused, but it is not: the "dishonest wealth" is money - also called "devil's dung" - and in general material goods.
Wealth can push to erect walls, create divisions and discriminate. Jesus, on the contrary, invites his disciples to change course: "Make friends with riches". It is an invitation to know how to transform goods and riches into relationships, because people are worth more than things and count more than the wealth they possess. In life, in fact, he bears fruit not those who have so many riches, but those who create and keep so many bonds, so many relationships, so many friendships through the different "riches", that is, the different gifts with which God has endowed him. But Jesus also indicates the ultimate purpose of his exhortation: "Make friends with riches, so that they may welcome you to eternal dwellings". To welcome us in Paradise, if we are able to transform riches into instruments of fraternity and solidarity, there will be not only God, but also those with whom we have shared, administering them well, what the Lord has put in our hands.
Brothers and sisters, this Gospel passage echoes in us the question of the dishonest administrator, chased by his master: "What will I do now?" (V. 3). Faced with our shortcomings, our failures, Jesus assures us that we are always in time to heal the evil done with good. Who caused tears, make someone happy; who has embezzled, gifts to those in need. In doing so, we will be praised by the Lord "because we have acted with cunning", that is, with the wisdom of one who recognizes himself as a child of God and brings himself into play for the Kingdom of Heaven.
May the Blessed Virgin help us to be cunning in ensuring ourselves not worldly success, but eternal life, so that at the time of the final judgment the needy persons we have helped may testify that in them we have seen and served the Lord.
After the Angelus
Dear brothers and sisters,
I affectionately greet all of you, Romans and pilgrims from different countries. In particular, I greet the participants in the Via Pacis, a foot race that crossed the streets of Rome this morning, to bring a message of peace, fraternity and above all dialogue between different cultures and religions.
I greet the group of the Polish Catholic Mission in Germany; the "San Leonardo" Choir of Procida; the confirmation candidates of Settimello (Florence); and the Sisters of Bell’Amore, who remember the 25th anniversary of their foundation.
Next Sunday, September 29th, there will be World Migrant and Refugee Day. For the occasion I will celebrate Holy Mass here in St. Peter's Square. I invite you to participate in this celebration to express our closeness to migrants and refugees from all over the world with prayer.
I wish you all a good Sunday. And please don't forget to pray for me. Good lunch and goodbye!