Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Your Money, For Now

Today's reading, according to the Coptic lectionary is Luke 16:1-12 (The Parable of the Steward):

St. Cyril of Alexandria writes (I've added the subheadings):

Entrusted with Wealth
Is there then no way of salvation for the rich, and no means of making them partakers of the hope of the saints? Have they fallen completely from God s grace? Is hell and the fire necessarily prepared for them, such as is the fitting lot of the devil and his angels? Not so: for lo! the Saviour has shown them a means of salvation in this parable. They have been entrusted with worldly wealth by the merciful permission of Almighty God.

Stewards for the Poor
They have been appointed stewards for the poor. But they don't discharge their stewardship rightly, in that they scatter, so to speak, what has been given them from the Lord: for they waste it solely on their pleasures, and purchase temporary honours, not remembering God, Who says, "You shall open wide your mercy unto your brother, even to him who needs you" (Deut 8), nor moreover Christ Himself, the Saviour of us all, Who says," Be merciful, even as your Father is." (Luke 6).

Whoever is in heaven is merciful. But they, as I said, do not take showing mercy to their brethren seriously at all, but concentrate only on their own pride. And this is what accuses them before the Lord of all.

The Net of Death
And of course upon the approach of death they must cease from their stewardship, withdrawing them as it does from human aifairs. For the net of death no man can escape from.

What therefore would Christ have them to do? It is, that while they are yet in this world, if they are unwilling to divide all their wealth among the poor, that at least they should gain friends by a part of it; and numerous witnesses to their charitableness, even those who have received well at their hands: that when their earthly wealth fails them, they may gain a place in their tabernacles.

For it is impossible for love to the poor ever to remain unrewarded. Whether therefore a man give away all his wealth, or but a part, he will certainly benefit his soul.

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