The decision of the dishonest manager

Sunday 25C – Luke 16:1-13

Across the Gospels, Jesus tells something like 40 parables (a good biblical number); there are 23 in Matthew, 9 in Mark, 28 in Luke but none in John; seven are found in all three of the Synoptic Gospels (Mt, Mk, Lk) and various ones are found in two gospels; some are unique to Matthew (10); one is unique to Mark; 15 are unique to the Gospel of Luke. Among these parables that are unique to the Gospel of Luke are some of the most-loved of all the parables that Jesus told – ones like the Good Samaritan and the ones that we had last Sunday – the lost sheep (also told in Matthew), the lost coin and the lost son. But I doubt if there are many people (if any?) who would claim the Parable of the dishonest manager as their most loved parable. Do you?

The parable has perplexed scholars and saints across the centuries – in part because it is not absolutely clear where the parable ends and the words of Jesus begin. Is the master (Greek kyrios) in 16:8 the master in the story or the Lord Jesus? Mostly today the parable is considered to finish at 16:8a, and the words of Jesus begin with “for the children of this age…” which makes sense.So is it possible to read this powerful parable in a new way so that it may even become your favourite? Probably not, but let’s try…

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Recorded at St John Vianney (11’26”)

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