I just read an article about Mother Teresa in this month's Columbia magazine. She has long been a hero of mine so I was curious to learn more about her. Here is one excerpt that really caught my attention:
"In 1987 after the Knights of Columbus Board of Directors voted to donate $10,000 a month to her congregation, Mother Teresa returned these checks, explaining that it would make her sisters too dependent on regular support rather than depending on the providence of God."
In this week's Gospel we see a man who could have learned a great deal from Mother Teresa.
Jesus said to his disciples, “A rich man had a steward who was reported to him for squandering his property. He summoned him and said, ‘What is this I hear about you? Prepare a full account of your stewardship, because you can no longer be my steward.’ The steward said to himself, ‘What shall I do, now that my master is taking the position of steward away from me? I am not strong enough to dig and I am ashamed to beg. I know what I shall do so that, when I am removed from the stewardship, they may welcome me into their homes.’ He called in his master’s debtors one by one. To the first he said, ‘How much do you owe my master?’ He replied, ‘One hundred measures of olive oil.’ He said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note. Sit down and quickly write one for fifty.’ Then to another the steward said, ‘And you, how much do you owe?’ He replied, ‘One hundred kors of wheat.’ The steward said to him, ‘Here is your promissory note; write one for eighty.’ And the master commended that dishonest steward for acting prudently. “For the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
Jesus uses this story to illustrate the challenges of dealing with wealth while seeking God's Kingdom.
Mother Teresa understood. Our needs are met by God. She simply allowed God to take care of her needs as she loved and cared for God's poorest children.
Our money can make a difference. But perhaps we should live by these words spoken to the Knights of Columbus by Mother Teresa. "...help us with the soup kitchens and our work with the poorest of the poor."