Treasure in Heaven
Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark shocks everyone who hears it. Jesus makes several statements that continue to confound us. Sell what you own, and give the money to the poor. It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than a rich man to enter heaven. For God all things are possible. There is no one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children of fields, for my sake and for the sake of good news, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this age.
Between the second and third statement, one of the disciples said: “Then who can be saved?”
But I was thinking about the parable of the unjust steward. When this parable is discussed in its modern courtroom context, there is a question that is sometimes asked. Should this parable be considered together with the parable of the unjust judge even though the two do not appear together in the Gospel of Luke?
In his book, Parables as Subversive Speech: Jesus as pedagogue of the oppressed, William R. Hezog suggested that perhaps the parables of Jesus were neither theological nor moral stories but political and economic ones. If true, then these two parables of the unjust steward and the unjust could be considered together recognizing that the economic disputes of the first century were often resolved by unjust judges who rendered decisions against the oppressed.
What message does the parables provide the unjust steward and the unjust judge?