Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Devotional Thoughts for Oct. 12, 2008/Fourth Sunday after the Festival of the Holy Cross

St. Luke 16: 9-18

This is the fourth Sunday after the Festival of the Holy Cross. The focus
of the passage is on the priority that we must give to God than to anything
else. The following are some of the thoughts from the passage:

The passage begins with the end of a parable of the shrewd servant who
earned the favor of the Master by spending the Master¹s money for his own
future security. The Master praised the timely action of the servant, even
though it was an action for his own personal security. The parable
underlines only the need of timely action and not an encouragement for
spending money for selfish ends. Therefore, the Lord instructs to earn
friends through materials means when there is an opportunity. Using the
opportunities at the right time is essential for each person to succeed in
life.

Truthfulness even in Little Things: Using material means one can prove
his/her truthfulness. God entrusts greater things to those who are
trustworthy even in smaller things. It has almost become impossible to see
trustworthy people. Everyone seems to be willing to use lies and selfish
means to earn material wealth. We can see that in the Orthodox Church very
few people are aware of giving at least the tithe to God. Many Protestant
denominations train their people on this. Even in little things we are not
trustworthy.

Trustworthy for Others¹ Property: The Lord clearly stipulates that without
trustworthiness for others¹ property how will God entrust trust in us to
manage our own property? It is the divine law that when we are proved in our
honesty regarding others¹ materials we will be given greater responsibility.

No Two Masters: The Lord¹s words are very powerful that no one can serve
two masters. It is the normal human tendency to love money more than God.
It is a challenge for all believers. There is no priority for God in the
minds of believers. People become vulnerable when a material situation
arises to leave God to make some money. Priority should be given to God.
Love for money makes a person unpopular and not acceptable before God. But
those who use money for the right reasons can please God.

God Knows our Hearts: Often doing things in a hidden way for material gains
is the style. People think that no one knows their secret dealings but God
knows it. It is essential to live with openness and transparency.

The Words of the Lord are Eternal: Ultimately the Word of God is the base
for everything. The Word won¹t change. However one tries to misinterpret
it for selfish ends like the Pharisees, it will be known to God. If one
gives priority to God, he/she cannot distort the Word of God for selfish
means.

Adultery Explained: Finally the Lord gives an example from life that if
someone divorces his wife, he commits adultery and also if someone marries a
divorced lady, he commits adultery. In the Jewish law divorce was made easy.
As women were not seriously taken by the Jews, divorce was not a big deal.
The powerless women were not able to combat this situation. The Lord made it
nearly impossible to divorce by banning even the marriage of the divorced
lady. Adultery was punishable with stoning to death. The Lord sees it as an
important matter to stay with one wife all through life. The point here is
the importance of staying with one wife in the most trustworthy manner.
Married life is the time of experiencing one¹s focus on one wife and one
God. Life itself is the practicing ground to serve one God. Those who stay
with one wife will stay with one God as well.

Love, Fr. M. K. Kuriakose, St. Thomas Indian Orthodox Church, Philadelphia

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