The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. Make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones.
Those who think the Second Coming is very near argue it is OK not to take care of this planet. After all, it is going to be trashed soon anyway. What does it matter? It is like the scene on the movie, “Titanic.” Who cares if the heroes crash through the Titanic walls? The ship is sinking anyway.
Those who do not know the ship is sinking, who live only in this world, are more prudent in dealing with their own generation that the religious, the children of light. They do not know their ship is sinking, so try to take care of it. They still guard and keep the garden, if only because they realize it is in their long-term interest to do so.
The great question before us today is, “If we cannot take care of this planet, why should God think we will take care of the next one?” Jesus argues Kal vahomer/Light and Heavy. “If we cannot take care of the lesser things, this planet, why should his father think we will care for the next one?”
We are God’s stewards on this planet. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, (God) who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate (Grind teeth at) one and love (Welcome) the other, or be like glue to one and tread upon the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
How are we God’s stewards? Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! “When will the new moon be over,” you ask, “that we may sell our grain, and Sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating! We will buy the lowly for silver, and the poor for a pair of sandals; even the refuse of the wheat we will sell!”
Amos is not describing people who think they are bad men. They are the proper men of their age. They do what they think is right. They work on the bottom line of double entry accounting. Keep the overhead low. That means low wages, minimal regulation, and minimal government. St. Paul spoke for these people last week, in the second reading. “I was once a slanderer, a persecutor and arrogant. In his unbelief, he thinks he does the right thing.
It comes down to Deuteronomy 30 and Luke 7 “This Mitzvah I give you today is not too wondrous or remote for you. It is not in the heavens, that you should say, “Who will go up to the heavens to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” Nor is it across the sea, that you should say, “Who will cross the sea to get it for us and tell us of it, that we may do it?” No, it is something very near to you, in your mouth and in your heart, to do it. I call heaven and earth today to witness against you: I set before you life and death, the blessing and the curse. Choose life/Boker Chaim…” “Jesus turned to the woman and told Simon/Peter, “Do you see this woman?” Luke 7:44. Our leaders, our corporate executives, love to sit in their offices and calculate the bottom lines on their budgets. They love to figure those standard deviations to see if their charges are cheating in any way. Who is producing average, and who is in that second standard deviation, one way or the other? Jesus says, “Stop all of that. Go out among your charges and try leadership once in a while. If you do, you will not see the cheating. Your people will be like glue to you, seeing Persona Christi in you. They will see your choosing life, and they will follow your example.” Modern leaders are so busy looking for the lack of trust to enable trust.
The problem with our leaders is that they are great for planning, organizing, staffing, and controllership. They would not know leadership if it bet them on the nose. They do not see the woman. They see the bottom line. They do not see people; they see concepts. They are so hung up on the bottom line, concepts, they cannot see the flesh and blood people standing in front of them. Jesus saw that in Simon Peter, and he sees it in us today. Their people are not like glue to them; because they tread upon them. God envisions societies, which are glue to one another, welcoming one another, and looking to God/Love as their head. When will we learn to be that?