For God’s Kingdom
In today’s Gospel (Lk 16:1-13), Jesus tells the parable of a dishonest steward. The Master got a tip that this servant was squandering his wealth. So he was summoned to give an account.
Reading this story, I am reminded of a mestiza-chinese woman who is at the center of news these days. Obviously she is not Kim Chiu. Kim Chiu, though is much beautiful. She became famous for her beauty and her mass appeal. But this woman has become infamous because of her “enterprising ways” of squandering the tax payers’ money.
News has it that she started very poor. Her father got bankrupt and left his family with nothing. When she was a high school student, her mother had a sari-sari store in front of her school where she also sold banana cue. The family was so poor that at times they had no viand; she would ask neighbors for dried fish to have “ulam” for rice. At that time, she could not even afford a decent dress to wear.
But she had the talent of being very enterprising. She seemed to have a “Midas touch” and could practically make cash out of anything. She has this strong convincing power; she can induce people to buy and she was very persistent. For instance, she would bring a big bag full of candies and school supplies in school and sell them to her classmates and teachers during recess. This was how she paid her tuition, school expenses that made her way to graduate.
After high school, her enterprising ways also leveled up. She claimed she became a supplier of charcoal, chickens, spare parts of military tanks, aircraft and communication equipments. She became so rich that other said she place her money in their bath-tub of their home. She acquired properties, cars, houses here and abroad.
But lately, people discovered the true source of her income. She was using the discretionary fund of the government channeling them by putting up “ghost projects” though fake NGO’s and bogus private companies. Government officials were helping her in this enterprise. Then they would split the gains 50-50; giving “balato” to their employees and helpers.
Now, the Lord makes this question: why are the people of darkness more “enterprising” than the children of light? Why are those who build their “own kingdom” on earth more hard-working than those who build God’s Kingdom?
The answer is clear. It is more lucrative to build one’s own kingdom on earth. Its easy. The results are instant. One lives in comfort. You gain power and wealth. While building God’s Kingdom is difficult. The process is slow, tiring and oppressive. Its always an experience of “delay gratification.” Thus the kingdom of God is out of the picture.
But Jesus’ constant challenge is this: seek first the Kingdom of God!
Here is an inspiring true story of Bartolome Blanco. He is from Cordoba, Spain and died as a martyr during the Spanish Civil War. In 1936, the Spanish authorities arrested him because he was a Catholic Leader and Secretary of the Catholic Action in their place. At this time, Spain had a communist government and implemented religious persecution. Bartolome was executed on October 2, 1936 at 21 years old.
He did not protest when he was sentenced to death. When he was handcuffed, he kissed it to the surprise of the soldier who place it on him. He walked at the site of his execution barefooted “in order to be more conformed to Christ.” He refused to be shot from behind because he was to die by firing squad. He said “whoever dies for Christ should do so facing forward and standing straight.” He shouted as he was showered with bullets: “Viva Cristo Rey!” (Long live Christ the King!).
After his death, they discovered a letter he wrote to her girlfriend Maruja. Aside from expressing his love for her even at the point of death, she also exhorted her:
“Take on as your primary objective the salvation of your soul.”
Towards the end of the letter, he wrote: “Do not forget that I am looking at you from heaven.. let my memory remind you that there is a better life, and that attaining it should constitute our highest aspiration!”
Think about this in moment of trials, temptations and tepidity. This about this thought when you get tired of working for the Kingdom of God: “There is a better life! Attaining it should constitute our highest aspiration.”