How do you act in a crisis?
Many of us are experiencing crises these days. It may be your loved one sick or dying from Covid-19 or another illness. Perhaps the family business is struggling, or you’ve lost your job. The cries for racial justice in our communities in response to the killings of our Black brothers and sisters at the hands of police are unrelenting. And as we witness the devastating wildfires and high number of calamitous hurricanes that reveal the widening environmental destruction on our planet, many are shaken to the core.
Today’s Gospel selection, at first reading, is confounding. Why would a steward, dismissed for mismanagement be praised for cutting debt owed to his rich master? Makes no sense.
But a closer analysis may help us realize Jesus is teaching his disciples their God-given capacity to manage a crisis.
According to some scholars, the steward forgave the debtors a portion of the debt that was the commission the steward received for collecting the debt. This was a clever act which kept him in good stead with the debtors and the rich man.
Jesus says we, his disciples, have all the gifts of the Holy Spirit we need to manage life’s crises. But our disposition must be an openness to the grace and wisdom available to us.
A wise Ursuline sister once said, “Don’t get ahead of grace.” If we stew and become anxious about a pending crisis, a predicted disaster, an illness or death yet to happen, we are trying to get ahead of grace. The Gospel today assures us will have the grace we need to manage crises when they come. Not before.
No doubt that is why throughout Scripture God tells us “Be not afraid!”
As the steward, a “child of this world,” was prudent in protecting his social connections, so we, “the children of light” will have what we need to deal with anything life throws our way, no matter how tragic.
Reflecting on the power of God to provide what we need when we need it gives us an inner peace, serenity, composure in every situation.
Jim Wayne is a board member of the Passionist Solidarity Network (PSN), and author of The Unfinished Man. He lives in Louisville, Kentucky.