A Word about the Readings
by Father Gethin
(The readings may be found here)
This week, we find the same theme from last Sunday—our calling to obedience, and the spiritual fruit our faithfulness ought to bear—now spelled out in the practical example of Israel in the desert: “they did all eat the same spiritual food, and did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual rock that followed them; and that rock was Christ. But with many of them God was not well pleased; for they were overthrown in the wilderness. Now these things were our examples, to the intent we should not lust after evil things, as they also lusted.” Our Christian calling is not a matter of material gain or earthly pleasure, but of spiritual blessing—‘that rock was Christ,’ in other words, their passage into the promised land was a matter of God’s immediate care and guidance, and not their own inclinations. The point which Paul sharpens here is our responsibility to discern the way which the Lord sets before us; it is not just a matter of blind or cold subjection to law, but rather, we must attend to His way and leading, so that when the temptation, the trial or trouble, appears, we will be able to find our way through.
That is precisely Christ’s point in the Gospel, with the parable of the wretched steward: Jesus wants us to see how the followers of Mammon, of the world’s fallen ways, know how to secure their own ends and purposes, even when the day of trouble comes and the way seems bleak. They persevere in spite of adversity and labour prudently to achieve their ends. Now if the children of the darkness of this present world can be so full of focus and prudence in their wicked projects, surely we, who follow the high calling of our new life in the Gospel, ought to be even more committed, and more prudent, in finding our way to the eternal reward laid up for us in God’s heavenly kingdom. And so our collect prays both for a right-thinking spirit, and for Christ’s divine aid, knowing that He, through the presence of the Holy Spirit, is the Rock from which we all drink, and the Communion by which we are able to travel onward together, as His beloved people.