Thursday, July 3, 2008

Learning Something Good from Bad Man

One day Ikkyu San, a young novice in a Buddhist monastery, were cleaning up his master’s table. He didn’t see that there was a very precious ceramic cup whose age was more than 300 years. He nudged the cup, it fell down and breaks into pieces. He was so afraid that his master will punish him hard. He cleaned up the remains and hides them behind his back. Then, his master came in. Thoughtfully, Ikkyu smiled and asked him a question, “Master, why do people die?” The master answered, “Well, Ikkyu, it’s natural, everything in this world experiences both life and death.” Still smiling, Ikkyu showed the broken cup, saying, “Master, it’s the time for this cup to die.” Ikkyu’s master was speechless. What a smart boy!

Brothers and sisters, the Gospel of Luke 16: 1-8 is dangerous! It teaches us to learn something good from bad man with bad attitude. In this parable of the dishonest manager, Jesus doesn’t praise the dishonesty of the manager. The praise for the manager is not the key of this parable. The key is the phrase, which says, “…for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light” (Luke 16:8). This is something that we can learn of. That phrase means that if only the Christian was as enthusiastic and smart in their attempt to attain goodness as the children of the world are in their attempt to attain money and comfort, the Christian would be much better people! If only the Christian is as smart as the Asian in pirating dvds, cds, perfumes, video games, etc, the Christian would be better in their spiritual life. Over and over again a man will expend 20 times the amount of time and money and effort on his pleasure, hobby, garden, sport as he does on his church. Our Christianity will begin to be real and effective only when we spend as much time and effort on it as we do on our worldly activities.


NO! Instead, we are lazy and lax. Once I trained young people to present a good liturgy by using guitars, keyboard, flute, and drums with contemporary Christian music. Some smarty persons criticized me, “Oh…it’s not liturgical, we, Catholics don’t use those stuffs. We only use organ, as the liturgical rule said. You train them become Protestants.” Remember, when organ was being used for the first time in the Church liturgy, people called it “the satanic device.” We tend to be lax and lazy. We don’t open to the change, because change makes us work. But the worse thing is we criticize they who put their time, money, and effort for building the kingdom of God creatively and using new ways. We tend to be a museum. Even when the Spirit urges us to renew our life, we reject. That is why, Jesus criticize us today, “the children of this world is smarter that you, the children of light!”

Let us wake from our sleep and move with the Spirit to be more creative, to put more effort, and to be smarter. Remember the smart novice that makes his master speechless, Ikkyu San. Remember also what Jesus said in another place, “See, I am sending you out like sheep into the midst of wolves, then be thoughtful as serpents and be innocent as doves” (Mt 10:16).