The parable of the unreliable servant and the master’s forgiveness follows and is related to the three parables of the lost as Luke arranges these teachings at the supper of the Pharisee. The themes of squandering wealth, return, prudence, forgiveness, the role of wealth (inheritance), trustworthiness that began in the lost parables continue here in this parable and in the teaching verses that follow.

So, the shepherd, the woman, the father, and the servant are praised for their stewardship of what is enduring and truly valuable, which of course is faith. What is true wealth? We forget this in our times because of the overwhelming presence of the material world, especially the part which we made, for example, technology, and the like. These are not things that make us wealthy.

As Jesus teaches about discipleship, his culminating in these sayings. It is noteworthy that in the very next passage, Luke 16, 16-17, the Pharisees who heard all these things, “sneer” at Jesus. They reject him, and exactly for the reasons his final retort gives to them. Do we value human or divine esteem? These two verses ought to be read, as they round out the whole of Luke 15 – 16, and bring the incident back to where it started, “he addressed the Pharisees”.

Alan Hartway

Theological Studies at Catholic Theological Union, Chicago IL; Master of Fine Arts, Poetics, at Naropa University, Boulder CO 1996; Master of Arts, Greek Classics, University of Colorado, Boulder CO 2012; Taught at Naropa University from 1999 through 2015; Chair of Interdisciplinary Studies from 2007-2015; Member of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood, Kansas City Province since 1974; Pastor at Guardian Angel Catholic Church, Mead, CO, ministry from 2007-2020 Currently Retired

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