Patterico's Pontifications

9/22/2019

Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 105

Filed under: Bach Cantatas,General,Music — Patterico @ 12:01 am



It is the fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost. Today’s Bach cantata is “Herr, gehe nicht ins Gericht mit deinem Knecht” (Lord, do not pass judgment on Your servant)

Today’s Gospel reading is Luke 16:1-13:

The Parable of the Shrewd Manager

Jesus told his disciples: “There was a rich man whose manager was accused of wasting his possessions. So he called him in and asked him, ‘What is this I hear about you? Give an account of your management, because you cannot be manager any longer.’

“The manager said to himself, ‘What shall I do now? My master is taking away my job. I’m not strong enough to dig, and I’m ashamed to beg— I know what I’ll do so that, when I lose my job here, people will welcome me into their houses.’

“So he called in each one of his master’s debtors. He asked the first, ‘How much do you owe my master?’

“‘Nine hundred gallons of olive oil,’ he replied.

“The manager told him, ‘Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it four hundred and fifty.’

“Then he asked the second, ‘And how much do you owe?’

“‘A thousand bushels of wheat,’ he replied.

“He told him, ‘Take your bill and make it eight hundred.’

“The master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly. For the people of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own kind than are the people of the light. I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

10 “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much, and whoever is dishonest with very little will also be dishonest with much. So if you have not been trustworthy in handling worldly wealth, who will trust you with true riches? And if you have not been trustworthy with someone else’s property, who will give you property of your own?

“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money.”

The text of today’s piece is available here. It contains these words:

Yet it is well for him who knows his Indemnitor,
who makes reparation for all guilt,
for the signature disappears
when Jesus moistens it with His blood.
He Himself lifts us up on the Cross,
He will hand over the account of your goods, body, and life,
when your hour of death strikes,
to the Father Himself.
Therefore your body, which is carried to the grave,
may well be covered over with sand and dust,
while your Savior opens the eternal courts for you.

If I can only make Jesus my friend,
then Mammon is worth nothing to me.
I find no pleasure here
in the midst of this vain world and earthly objects.

Happy listening! Soli Deo gloria.

[Cross-posted at The Jury Talks Back.]

5 Responses to “Sunday Music: Bach Cantata BWV 105”

  1. This is a troubling Gospel because it seems to approve a manager who is dishonest and self-dealing. I prefer the Catholic interpretation that this is about an agent correcting usurious loans he made so they do not reflect poorly on him or his master.

    DRJ (15874d)

  2. On the literal level the manager is commitying fraud and forgery…

    Perhaps Jesus is suggesting not pressing legal claims to the max? Forgiving people what they owe?

    It is rather confusing.

    But if you take this in isolation

    I tell you, use worldly wealth to gain friends for yourselves, so that when it is gone, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings

    You get a summary of the rabbinical teaching on wealth…that God gives us wealth so we can be charitable (and our charitable deeds are the “friends we gain”).

    Kishnevi (f2c02a)

  3. The manager still did good to the debtors even though it was for selfish reasons. His master commended him because he saw a scoundrel after his own heart and not the incompetent he had first thought.

    So now this is the crossroads for the manager. Does he go on extorting people for his master, trusting that his master will continue to employ him and reward him for it? Or does he turn his back on his master and his acquisitive ways, and hope for some return (redemption?) from the good he did as was his first plan.

    nk (dbc370)

  4. This is an especially dangerous passage to read in isolation. It is better understood in the contexts of Christ’s other lessons regarding wealth. For example, the parable of the rich man and Lazarus which follows this parable in Luke or, better, the wealthy young man and “the camel through the eye of a needle”: “Jesus said unto him, If thou wilt be perfect, go and sell that thou hast, and give to the poor, and thou shalt have treasure in heaven: and come and follow me.” Matthew 19:21 (KJV) Then the last line of this parable, “You cannot serve both God and money”, becomes clearer.

    nk (dbc370)

  5. I think that is the Anglican view of this parable.

    DRJ (15874d)

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