George C. Parker was a clever con man who used to convince people that he could sell them the Brooklyn Bridge.
In 1883, shortly after the bridge was completed, Parker had set up an office complete with pictures of the Brooklyn Bridge and bogus legal papers.
Parker would “sell” the bridge from anything between $75 & $5,000, while the gullible buyer would receive nothing more than a forged set of papers of ownership.
Chaos would ensue when the police torn down the toll booths that the new owners had set up to charge people for using their bridge.
Parker’s schemes weren’t limited to the Brooklyn Bridge – he also ‘sold’ the tomb of Ulysses S. Grant by claiming to be the general’s grandson; and he was also able to “sell” the Statue of Liberty a few times.
He earned loads of money, but was eventually convicted of fraud and spent the last nine years of his life in Prison.
The first reading presents some of the ancient Hebrews cheating their fellow countrymen by fixing their scales. Nowadays, people have plenty of opportunities to deceive others. It is easy to cheat, lie and steal so as to gain something. This includes dishonest gains in our community, at school or work, socially, financially, scholarly or athletically. But, as the first reading says, they cannot deceive the Lord. He knows, and He will not forget.
There is another aspect to all this. That is the effort that cheaters put into acquiring dishonest gain just like the cheating steward in today’s Gospel. Imagine how much more good would be done if that steward, as well as all cheaters used their intelligence in a just and honest way.
What would our spiritual lives would be like if we used our intelligence to find ways to live as an upright and God-loving member of God’s Kingdom? Many of you who are reading this article are doing just that in you life. You are using your intellect and will to reflect the goodness of God and expanding the Kingdom of God.
A person who acts on his or her intelligence is often called “savvy”. A savvy person is as shrewd as a fox. George Parker thought he was savvy, but he ended up in prison, and was completely lacking in savviness concerning spiritual matters which has eternal ramifications. It reminds me of a billboard I recently saw which read: Eternal Airlines – Non-smoking and Smoking sections available!
We can be savvy in finding ways to spread the Kingdom of God or only for temporal gains. Today let us pray for the grace to always be honest and respectful of others and the grace to be spiritually savvy.