Eighth Sunday After Pentecost The Gospel Luc. 16. v. I. Monday Meditation: A Plaine Path-way To Heaven Thomas Hill 1634
DUCCIO di Buoninsegna
GOSPEL Luke 16: 1-9At that time, Jesus spoke to His disciples this parable: "There was a certain rich man, who had a steward; and the same was accused unto him that he was wasting his goods. And he called him, and said unto him, 'What is this that I hear of thee? render the account of thy stewardship; for thou canst be no longer steward.' "And the steward said within himself, 'What shall I do, seeing that my lord taketh away the stewardship from me? I have not strength to dig; to beg I am ashamed. I am resolved what to do, that, when I am put out of the stewardship, they may receive me into their houses.' And calling to him each one of his lord's debtors, he said to the first, 'How much owest thou unto my lord?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of oil.' And he said unto him, 'Take thy bond, and sit down quickly and write fifty.' Then said he to another, 'And how much owest thou?' And he said, 'A hundred measures of wheat.' He saith unto him, 'Take thy bond, and write fourscore.' "And his lord commended the unrighteous steward because he had done wisely: for the sons of this world are for their own generation wiser than the sons of the light. And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it shall fail, they may receive you into the eternal tabernacles."
We may also gather how rich our Master is, by this discourse. If a man hath more bailiffs then one, we think he is richer then he that hath but one, & so many the more bailiffs he hath, so much the more richer we think him to be.
How rich then is that Master that hath so many bailiffs, as there be persons in the world? For every person in the world is a bailiff to God,and no more but a bailiff, as I said before. Another argument of the greatness of a Master, is the magnitude and preciousness of the things committed to our charge, and care, which are the goods of fortune, to wit riches, honor, power, dominion, and the likes, the goods of nature, to wit integrity of body, beauty, strength, wit, and all other natural faculties and abilities of our body, and mind.
The manifold gifts of grace, as in the first place and the ground of all, is the Catholic faith, hope, charity, Sacraments, good inspirations & the like, to bring us to eternal salvation, and finally salvation itself, in comparison whereof the whole world & all therein contained is nothing: in a word by that, we are made, as St Paul saith, heirs with the natural son of God, Christ Jesus, Coheirs with our Master, what can a Bailiff expect better, then upon good usage of his Master goods, to be made Coheir with his Master?
O how happy are they that serve such a Master well, & how unhappy if they misdemean themselves, for then instead of their Eternal Inheritance with him in heaven, their portion shall be with the devils in hell. This consideration of the love of the one, and fear of the other insufficient to make us good bailiffs, if we imprint it well in our minds, especially if we add this consideration, that as this ill bailiff was defamed to his Master for abuse of his bailiffship, so are the eyes of our all-seeing Master upon all our actions, that not the least of them all, of no not an idle word shall escape his severe judgement, unless we make us friends before hand, as this bailiff did.
And we shall not only be liable to an account for these Talents we have received; but also which we might have received, if the fault had not been ours, it being said in the Gospel; unto him that hath, that is to say, unto him that hath and useth it well, more shall be given, and from him that hath not, to wit, through his own, default and negligence, even that which he hath shall be taken away.
And because of all other Talents we receive, riches is most obnoxious and subject to be abused, and is therefore by our Saviour Christ in the Gospel, called (Mammon) that is to say, riches (for so the word (Mammon) doth signify) of Iniquity, because it is commonly gotten and iniquity, kept with iniquity (men thinking they keep but their own when they keep that which belongeth to the poor,and other men) spent with iniquity, it be ing the instrument of all iniquity,and, as the Poet Horace sayth, the Queen of the world, that will yield a man all worldly things he desires: therefore Christ counseled us to make us friends thereof, by bestowing them liberally to the poor, that when we shall fail, and be put out of our bailiffship by death, when there is no time to dig or beg, they may receive us into eternal tabernacles, that is to say, into the kingdom of heaven.