During the fifth century Pope Leo the Great played a pivotal role in the history of the Church: he persuaded the Emperor Valentinian to recognise the primacy of the Bishop of Rome. He was also instrumental in formulating the doctrine of Our Lord’s Incarnation. He even persuaded Attila the Hun to turn away his invasion force from the gates of Rome. Pope Leo died in 461 leaving many letters and writings of great historical value. We honour Pope Saint Leo the Great as a Doctor of the Church and we ask his continued intercession and protection.
Few, if any of us, will recognise anything commendable about the dishonest steward. He has wasted his master’s money, probably using it for his own benefit instead of investing it on his master’s behalf. And yet by the end of the story, the master is commending him for acting prudently.
It’s important to understand that the steward was within his legal rights in reducing the debts of these people. As long as he held his post, he could remove the interest he had undoubtedly tacked on earlier in order to line his own pockets. Although his motive was essentially selfish, his actions had another effect. They made his master look generous. That’s probably why the master praised him: by endearing himself to the debtors while burnishing his master’s reputation, he had come up with a win-win situation.
We are God’s stewards and everything we do reflects on him. When we act selfishly, indifferent to the effect that our behaviour has on other people, we misrepresent the way things really are. We give the world a picture of God that isn’t true. And when we are too timid to use our gifts to help other people, we cast doubt on God’s own generosity and compassion.
On the other hand, when we give someone the benefit of the doubt, being quick to understand and forgive, we offer that person a taste of God’s mercy. When we use the resources that God has given us to build people up, those around us get a sense that God is on their side and that they can begin to entrust their lives to him.
We are stewards of nothing less than the unlimited grace of God. May we dispense that grace as generously as God himself.