By Fr. Roy Cimagala
OF course, this is going to be a most tricky challenge. But we just have to learn how to deal with the world’s unavoidable evils without compromising both truth and charity that can lead us to respond to evil with evil.
We are reminded of this concern in the gospel where Christ told his disciples a very intriguing parable about the dishonest steward. (cfr. Lk 16,1-8) A rich man decided to fire his steward for mismanaging his business. And the steward, knowing what was going to happen, had to do some cheating so he would have security after being fired.
The conclusion of the parable was that the master praised his dishonest steward for his ‘cleverness’ or prudence, saying that the “people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of light.” (Lk 16,8)
At first sight, it would seem that God, who must have been personified in some way by the rich man in the parable, is ok with cheating, with being dishonest, with being calculating as leverage for one’s personal gain and interest.
Even the so-called liberal gospel commentators raise their eyebrows over this parable and have to take great pains to find the rationale behind this parable. You can just imagine how the so-called conservative gospel commentators would justify this parable!
To me, it simply means that Christ is being realistic with our situation in this world. We try to put everything in our life right, clean and moral. But no matter what we do, we would always be hounded by evil and by all kinds of dirt, physical, moral, spiritual.
We should just learn how to carry out what Christ indicated for his disciples: to be “wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Mt 10,16). Definitely, by carrying out what Christ indicated, we cannot help but get dirtied somehow. But hopefully it would be a dirt that does not compromise our true Christian identity.
The secret again is to be like Christ through whom we can manage to live out what St. Paul once described: “I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Phil 4,11-13)
We should be ready to face any kind of circumstances and conditions in life without getting confused, much less, lost, in our Christian identity. We should not be Christians during fair weather only. We have to be Christians for all seasons and weathers.
We may have to handle dirt in our life and deal with situations that are wrought with moral irregularities, but as long as we do not compromise what is essential, which is love that comes from God as shown by Christ who became like sin without committing sin (cfr. 2 Cor 5,21), then things will just turn out ok.
We have to learn to distinguish between what is a tolerable cooperation in evil and an intolerable one. With the former, we should feel the obligation to do whatever we can to clean up what is evil in a given situation, system or structure. We should avoid the latter.