I believe you are
referring to the Gospel of St. Luke, Chapter 16 (Parable of the Dishonest
Steward/Parable of the Unjust Steward). This can be a difficult
parable to understand. The passage certainly does *not* mean that we can do
evil so that good may result (this is never the case). The parable is
explained in a traditional missal as follows...
"It is not the
unfaithfulness of the steward after his disgrace that our Lord would have us
imitate, but his foresight. Almighty God has placed this world's riches at our
disposal. Instead of using them, as is often the case, to do evil, whence
their name of mammon of iniquity, let us make good use of them, by helping
those who have not. Charity is the key which opens heaven.
If, says St. Jerome,
the master, injured in respect of his rights, praises the foresight of the
steward who knows how to take care of his own interests, albeit by fraud; how
much more will our Divine Redeemer, who cannot suffer any loss, and who is
always inclined towards leniency, praises his disciples when he sees them
treating with kindness those who should be believers in him?
St. Jerome applies
the same principle not only to temporal goods but also to spiritual ones. 'If,
he says, the fruits of injustice wisely dispersed, are turned into a means of
doing justice, how much more shall the divine Word, in which is no injustice,
and which has been entrusted to the apostles, if rightly dispensed raise to
heaven those who dispense it.'"
Below are some
footnotes from a traditional translation of Holy Scripture (Douay Rheims)...
* "And the lord commended, &c. By this we are given to understand, that if the
lord of this unjust steward could commend him for his worldly prudence, though
it were an overt act of injustice; how much more will the Almighty be pleased
with those who, obedient to his command, seek to redeem their sins by
* "Commanded the
unjust steward. Lit. the steward of iniquity: not for his cheating and
injustice, but for his contrivances in favour of himself--In their generation;
i.e. in their concerns of this life. They apply themselves with greater care
and pains, in their temporal affairs, than the children of light, whom God has favoured with the light of faith, do to gain heaven."
* "Make to
yourselves friends, die. Not that we are authorized to wrong our neighbour, to
give to the poor: evil is never to be done, that good may come from it. D.
Thoma.--But we are exhorted to make the poor our friends before God, by
relieving them with the riches which justly indeed belong to us, but are
called the mammon of iniquity, because only the iniquitous man esteems them as
riches, on which he sets his affections; whilst the riches of the virtuous are
wholly celestial and spiritual."
* "What a beautiful
thought this! What a consolation to the rich man, when the term of his mortal
existence is approaching, to think he shall have as many advocates to plead
for his admittance into the eternal mansions of rest, as he has made friends
among the poor by relieving their temporal wants. The rich give to the poor
earthly treasures, the latter return in recompense eternal and infinite
happiness. Hence we must infer, that the advantage is all on the side of the
giver; according to the saying of our Lord, happier is the condition of him
who gives, than of him who receives."
may be said to belong to another, because they are the Lord's; and we have
only the dispensing of them: so that when we give alms, we are liberal of
another's goods. But if we are not liberal in giving what is another's, how
shall we be so in giving our own?"
* "There is a
certain erroneous opinion inherent in mankind, which increases evil and
lessens good. It is the feeling that all the good things we possess in the
course of our life we possess as lords over them, and accordingly we seize
them as our especial goods. But it is quite the contrary. For we are placed in
this life not as lords in our own house, but as guests and strangers, led
whither we would not, and at a time we think not of. He who is now rich,
suddenly becomes a beggar. Therefore whoever you are, know yourself to be a
dispenser of the things of others, and that the privileges granted you are for
a brief and passing use. Cast away then from your soul the pride of power, and
put on the humility and modesty of a steward."
* "But the wicked
steward aptly contrived the remission of debts, to provide for himself an
escape from his misfortunes among his fellow-servants; for it follows, I am
resolved what to do, that when I am put out of the stewardship, they may
receive me into their houses. For as often as a man perceiving his end
approaching, lightens by a kind deed the load of his sins, (either by
forgiving a debtor his debts, or by giving abundance to the poor,) dispensing
those things which are his Lord's, he conciliates to himself many friends, who
will afford him before the judge a real testimony, not by words, but by the
demonstration of good works, nay moreover will provide for him by their testimony
a resting-place of consolation. But nothing is our own, all things are in the power of God."
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