Summary: A sermon for the 16th Sunda after Pentecost Proper 20

16th Sunday after Pentecost

Proper 20

Luke 16:1-13

"Jesus Sense of Humor"

"He also said to the disciples, "There was a rich man who had a steward, and charges were brought to him that this man was wasting his goods. And he called him and said to him, ’What is this that I hear about you? Turn in the account of your stewardship, for you can no longer be steward.’ And the steward said to himself, ’What shall I do, since my master is taking the stewardship away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do, so that people may receive me into their houses when I am put out of the stewardship.’ So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he said to the first, ’How much do you owe my master?’ He said, ’A hundred measures of oil.’ And he said to him, ’Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’ Then he said to another, ’And how much do you owe?’ He said, ’A hundred measures of wheat.’ He said to him, ’Take your bill, and write eighty.’ The master commended the dishonest steward for his shrewdness; for the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. "He who is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own? No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon."" Luke 16:1-13, RSV.

Grace and Peace to you from our Lord and Saviour, Jesus who is the Christ. Amen

The parable in our gospel lesson this morning is difficult for us to understand, because it is not a positive parable, but a negative one. To help us to understand this parable, I would like to share a modern parable, and then a story about a political who was concerned about getting reelected.

The Parable of the Labor Racketeer. There was a certain labor racketeer who had grown rich on sweetheart contracts and in the use of pension fund money. One day he found that the F.B.I. was tailing him and he began to suspect that there was no escape for him. So what did he do? Carefully he put a large sum of money in a Swiss bank so that no one could touch it and faced trial. After exhausting all appeals, he was sentenced and served time in the Atlanta Federal Prison. Having served time, He took his money and moved to Miami Beach where he lived happily ever after .

The second story is about Senator Huey Long who was trying to get reelected to the Senate. He was campaigning in southern Louisiana where he was taken aside by a local politician and reminded that he would be speaking to a lot of Catholic voters. Throughout the day Huey told his audiences how as a boy he would get up at six o’clock on Sunday mornings, hitch the family horse to the buggy and take his Catholic grandparents to mass. After he brought them home, he would turn around and take his Baptist grandparents to church.

At the end of the day, the, local politician complimented Huey and expressed his surprise at learning he had Catholic grandparents, To which Huey Long replied: "Don’t be a fool. We didn’t even have a horse."

Aren’t these stories edifying? Would you like to be one of these people? They are rascals, rogues, crooks, liars, and all around pretty unquestionable people. These stories are not good examples of how we are to live our lives. But this is just the kind of story Jesus told, about a crook, a dishonest steward who was commended for his dishonesty. He had cheated his boss and was being fired. But before he lost his job, he thought about how he would take care of himself. He was used to a good living and couldn’t bear to dig ditches or beg, So he decided that the people who owed his boss money would be grateful to him, if their bill could be changed. So, he invited these debtors in, as asks them to change their bill. His boss finds out about it and instead of becoming angry, he commends this guy for using his head, for thinking fast on his feet, so that he would be taken care of .

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