Read Phil. 4:10-19, Ps. 112:1-2,5-6,8,9, Luke 16:9-15
“Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations.” (Luke 16:9)
In our first reading today, St. Paul in concluding his reflection to the Philippians reminded them of their kindness to him: “And you Philippians yourselves know that at the beginning of the gospel when I left Macedonia, no church entered into a partnership with me in giving and receiving except you only; for even in Thessalonica you sent me help once and again.” (Philippians 4:15-16)
In appreciation for their generosity, St. Paul prayed for the Philippians saying: “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Today, many Christians are quick to quote this verse in prayer without understanding the full context. Before declaring this prayer of St. Paul over our lives, that God will supply all our needs, let us not forget to tap into the power of kindness that prompted St. Paul to pray like this for the Philippians.
As St. Paul prayed for the Philippians, it is also my prayer for those who support God’s work that God may never give them a reason to regret their kindness. Anyone who has experienced the miracle of kindness does not need to be cajoled. We can actually avoid actions that tend to make a caricature of the liturgy in the name of fundraising, harvest, etc. once we understand that God always blesses those who give.
Coming to our Gospel passage today, we hear Jesus saying “make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon (our material resources), so that when it fails, (at the end of our lives), they may receive you into the eternal habitations.” (Luke 16:9). This means that the blessing we get for our generosity (whether to support God’s work or to help the poor and needy around us) goes beyond this world.
However, as much as we seek God’s blessing, we must be careful to avoid the mistake of equating money with God. Whether we like it or not, we all desire to be rich, that is, to have enough money to take care of our needs and those who depend on us. Money does bring happiness and it helps to solve a lot of problems but if in a bid to make money, we start disobeying God’s commandments (telling lies, stealing, selling our bodies, cheating, defrauding others, etc.) it means money has become a god for us.
As Jesus puts it, no servant can serve two masters. If making money stops you from your daily prayers or stops you from attending church as you would normally do before, if you find yourself doing things that are against your conscience just for the sake of making money, the truth is that money has become your master. If as a minister, you only attend to members of your flock who are rich and ignore those who seem to have nothing to offer, then the money is your master.
As Jesus was speaking, the Pharisees (who had turned the temple into a market) scoffed at him and Jesus said: “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts.” (Luke 16:15) It is easy to say “money is not my master” or “I don’t worship money” but the truth is God sees our hearts; we may justify ourselves but we cannot deceive God.
Let us pray: Heavenly Father, provide for my needs. May I not be so poor as to steal or become so rich as to forget you. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Saturday of week 31 in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Phil. 4:10-19, Ps. 112:1-2,5-6,8,9, Luke 16:9-15)
© Rev. Fr. Evaristus Abu