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Proper 20

Jeremiah 8.18—9.1
1 Timothy 2.1–7
Luke 16.1–13

The first thing to get clear about the ‘parable of the wicked mammon’ is that it is precisely a parable. It is not advice about financial management: Jesus is not telling people to cheat their bosses. It makes sense within Jesus’ Jewish context on the one hand and Luke’s on the other.

Rabbinic parables about a master and a steward are about God and Israel. Jesus regularly charges his contemporaries with infidelity to their commission: called to be the light of the world, they have kept the light for themselves, and have turned it into darkness. One symptom of this, evidenced in the previous chapter, is that Jesus’ opponents have become so concerned about keeping what they see as their master’s regulations that they cannot accept that Jesus’ welcome of the poor and the outcast reflects the master’s real intentions. Like the elder brother in the previous parable, or the hardhearted miser in the next one, they risk being shut out from the master’s household, being put out of their stewardship. Jesus, like Jeremiah, is warning of an awesome imminent disaster, whose approach calls all standard practice into question...

Publisher: SPCK - view more
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