Twenty-seventh Sunday in Ordinary Time
October 8, 2017
Last week, another high-ranking government official lost his prestigious and powerful White House position because he apparently chartered expensive private jets to transport him around the country at taxpayers’ expense. The House Oversight Committee is said to be looking into other officials who might have violated the public trust in the same fashion.
Shocking? It shouldn’t be!
In fact, the folks most taken aback by the investigations are probably those being investigated. With power comes privilege…RIGHT? So what is the issue here? These guys are doing important work for the country. Why should they have to fly the friendly skies in the unfriendly seats that most taxpayers sit in?
Dial this down a little. Why shouldn’t I use the company car to run my personal errands? What’s the harm in picking up the check for my buddies and turning it in as a business expense? No one is going to miss this…a new supply just came in, and we’re running low at home. It really is pretty easy to justify our actions, whether we are pocketing paper clips or jetting around like rock stars. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be…at least until Christ returns to set things right. Power and prestige seeks privilege without concern to what is right and just.
The religious leaders who listened on as Jesus told the parable about the murderous tenants knew He was talking about them because they were guilty of violating their master’s trust. Of course, they took offense to the parable, adding this to the growing list of indictable offenses against the Lord.
It seems that the Apostles and disciples didn’t recognize this story as the foretelling of His own death and the tragic end to life as they knew it. However, it’s a historic fact, however, that about 30 years after The Crucifixion, Roman legions descended upon The Holy City, destroying the Temple, reducing a proud nation to a refugee people, and leaving Jerusalem in ruin. In short, their abuse of power and the abuse of trust that God placed in them cost the Scribes and Pharisees and the High Priest himself their jobs.
Think of it this way:
In the beginning, God gave humankind enormous power and prestige. Not only were we created in the image and likeness of God, but God entrusted to us, for our use and enjoyment, all the rest of creation. God imposed few restrictions or conditions on our “tenancy.” Certainly, we are called to remember that all good things come from and continue to belong to God. That knowledge, in and of itself, should motivate feelings of gratitude and an eagerness to use what has been entrusted to us in a way that is pleasing to The Creator.
However, power and prestige somehow leave us susceptible to a spiritual amnesia! As we get more comfortable with privileges…large and small…we begin to take them for granted. This leaves us in danger of forgetting that we are only tenants living off the largess of a kind and loving Owner.
Losing sight of who we are, we quickly forget about the conditions and restrictions on our use and enjoyment of those things that rightly belong to God. Compliance with our lease becomes more and more difficult and excuses and defenses easier and easier to dream up. Few move from paper clips to chartered jets, but, at one time or another, most fail to give God what is due and owing. No matter how big or small the violation, it is still detrimental to our spiritual lives to lose sight of the truth that all good things come from and belong to God.
On God’s part, there is the expectation that we use what has been lent to us in a way that benefits all creation. Those are the terms of the lease!
So the question of the week is: “How good a tenant am I?”
You certainly do not want to be served with a spiritual eviction notice!