2004—Twenty-fifh Sunday of Ordinary Time—C
Money, money,money,money (Sing) Those are the only lyrics I know from the theme song of the popular show The Apprentice. I don't know if any of you are faithful followers of this show, especially those of you who live and work in the corporate world. I am not a faithful follower but I have to confess that I can get hooked from time to time. Is it the brashness, the backbiting, the bold display of wealth and power that holds our attention?
I wonder what Donald Trump would say about today's parable of the "dishonest steward". Would he bring him into the board room and applaud him for taking the initiative to make friends after he had been fired by the rich man. Would he take him on as his apprentice, congratulating him on his "business plan" and "self-marketing"?
And I wonder what would Jesus say about Donald Trump and the Apprentice? If this parable is to be taken seriously, Jesus would use the example of this "worldly success" to point out how we are called to be as "creative, clever and even cunning" as his "apprentices" but not in the "things of this world, not in amassing wealth for our own pleasure and power at the expense of the poor. As apprentices of Jesus, we are asked to have the same "ingenuity" in bringing about the kingdom of God and spreading the good news, that those who are successful in material ways do.
I have used that word "apprentice" What does it mean to you? It's a powerful image, really learning "hands on" from someone who knows his or her skill. It's personal and intimate. To apprentice yourself to someone means that you want to learn everything you possibly can. In a real way you form yourself in the identity of the master craftsman.
Can we really believe that Jesus invites us each to Apprentice with him in the things of God? Do you really think that you are up to the task of living the gospel in such a dynamic way that there is no doubt who the Teacher is? Can we find as much enthusiasm for "prayer and thanksgiving, good works and concern for the poor and outcast" as those who are clamoring for the solo spot as the Apprentice.
Jesus tells us not to be deceived, ultimately it's not about money, money, money, power or position. To be apprenticed to him means service, means the Cross, but the payback is eternal love and eternal life.