16:3-9, 16, 22-27
145:2-3, 4-5, 10-11
“No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.
And he said to them,
“You justify yourselves in the sight of others,
but God knows your hearts”-Luke 16:9-15
Jesus often spoke about the burden of riches and how it keeps us from devoting
our lives to God. His messages are always simple and clear, as they
are in today’s Gospel. We cannot accumulate wealth without it interfering
with our relationship to our God who has made all that we have possible,
no matter how much or how little. The problem comes in knowing what
it is that we must do in order to be among those who will “inherit the kingdom
of God.” Is it like the story of the young, rich man who asks Jesus
what he must do to have eternal life and is told to give away all of his
wealth to the poor?
We live in a world in which we are made more aware of the disparity
that exists within it with each news story. The very fact that we sit
here looking at a screen reading this reflection separates us from most of
the world who cannot do so. We try very hard each day to be caring
for those around us but our efforts, no matter how grand, seem to be insignificant
because there is always so much more to do. Guilt can overwhelm us.
I find it hard to believe God ever expected us to suffer as a way to salvation,
though many ultimately do. He loved us too much. He has given
us an amazingly bountiful and renewable world so that we might insure that
everyone has what they need to live a good life. Unfortunately, there
is no bell within us that rings and says, “Okay, enough, you have plenty;
let someone else have the rest.” The more we have, the more we want
and God knows that ultimately this stops us from loving Him fully.
We can’t. We are too distracted.
The prayer of St. Ignatius Loyola, known as the Suscipe,
has a few lines that I find helpful. “All that I am and all that
I possess You have given me: I surrender it all to You to be disposed of
according to Your will. Give me only Your love and Your grace; with these
I will be rich enough, and will desire nothing more.” St. Ignatius
understood that whatever we have in this life is on loan and can be taken
away in the time of a single breath. We must work to understand that
too. The day will come when we leave behind everything we have to those
who follow us. Wouldn’t all of us want that to be memories of someone
who was loved rather than the things that we have bought?