July 20, 2008 - The 9th Sunday after Trinity

Today's Reading: Luke 16:1-13

Daily Lectionary: 1 Samuel 3:1-21; Acts 16:1-22

So he called every one of his master’s debtors to him, and said to the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ And he said, “A hundred measures of oil.’ So he said to him, ‘Take your bill, and sit down quickly and write fifty.’” (Luke 16:5-6)

Today we read the parable of the unjust steward, where an unjust man forgives others of their debt to his master. Notice how our steward begins. By being fired, he might as well be dead, as he is totally helpless. He can’t dig, and he is too proud to beg. What else is there?

Sentenced to death, the best our steward can do is count on his neighbor, whom he hopes to win by way of forgiving their debt. The steward’s neighbors have incurred debt and their account holds a balance. They need to either pay up or face the consequences: foreclosure and penalty in prison. They might as well be dead, as they are totally helpless.

The debtors’ lives lie in their master’s hands and there is no mercy for them because they have not paid up. We stand with those debtors facing God the Father, totally consumed in sin. We have no way of working out our debt. Our debt increases and we don’t even make an effort to reconcile it. Only by the grace of our unjust steward, Jesus Christ, do we find our accounts paid in full.

This unjust steward, our Lord, reconciles our debt at Calvary where He hangs as a criminal. Let’s face it, if He were anything less than a criminal would we even bother with Him? As one of us, God in flesh, we receive His gifts for our redemption.

Had the Father, our Master, been just with us we would only know eternal death. The unjust however, intercedes for us with Father reconciling that which we were simply unable to. The steward, as the manager of His Father’s goods, is able to work this reconciliation, and so He does. At the font of Holy Baptism the unjust steward washes away our bill.

Redeemed by the unjust steward we stand before the master, God the Father, no longer sentenced to death but alive in Him who redeemed us. In the name of Jesus, Amen.

Let Your merciful ears, O Lord, be open to the prayers of Your humble servants; and that they may obtain their petitions, make them to ask such things as shall please You; through Jesus Christ, Your Son, our Lord, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen. (Collect for Trinity 9)