Homily by Fr. Paul Plante
25th Sunday in Ordinary Time
September 19, 2004
Scriptural Reference: Luke 16:1-13
Sometimes I know full well why a verse from the scriptures for the Mass jumps out at me. Because I know such a verse connects with an important direction my own life has taken or needs to take. It is a verse that affirms something in the Christian way of life that I find important for myself and want to share with others. It is evident in any aspect of life – teaching, parenting, coaching – if something is not very important to you, you will never present it with the energy needed to make it important in somebody’s else’s life.
This said, the very important verse for me in today’s scriptures is: “the person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.” This one verse invites us to reflect on honesty and dishonesty in our lives and especially how we deal with such matters of honesty and dishonesty even when the stakes are small. Jesus did not present us with a spirituality that ignores small matters. In a system of love and integrity everything counts. And in this particular verse it looks as though our neglect of honesty in small matters can mean that we are also dishonest in bigger matters.
We could take a close look at how we fare in a number of areas. The most tangible would be in the use of money and material goods- do we manage without any kind of compromise with funds that are entrusted to us? Do we allow ourselves to cut corners, bend the rules and laws, make personal use of goods that really are not ours to use?
Are we always truthful in our dealings with others? Do we try to pass for other than who we are? Do we give a good moral line as to what is right or wrong in public and then live according to different standards with certain people of like mind? How do we deal with private or secret areas of our lives? For example, the internet where it is possible to convince oneself that no one is getting hurt, that no one will know.
In whatever way we can imagine, allowing our integrity to start crumbling in a small way is starting a process that can be potentially disastrous.
Part of the insidious problem here is the self-deception that the particular dishonesty is small, therefore harmless.
Be alert to snip in the bud anything that is dishonest. Trust that remaining honest in small matters will make it possible for you to be honest in big matters too.
The message of Jesus – life as a disciple of Jesus is a question of integrity, even in the smallest matters.