Wednesday, September 18, 2013

25th Sunday in OT (C) - Riches to Heaven

Luke 16:10-13
September 22, 2013

GOSPEL READING: Application of the Parable of the Parable of the Dishonest Steward

The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones; and the person who is dishonest in very small matters is also dishonest in great ones. If, therefore, you are not trustworthy with dishonest wealth, who will trust you with true wealth? If you are not trustworthy with what belongs to another, who will give you what is yours? 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.”

REFLECTION: Riches to Heaven

It is a nice story to hear whenever a taxi driver or janitor would return a large sum of money left by a customer. That money could help them change the status of their life, but they chose to be an honest man. Some stories would irritate our ears. We hear scandals over public funds used by corrupt individuals. Nowadays, money can easily turn into an object of temptation. Will we uphold good virtues or shall we give in to greed? Our Lord reminds us of this fact. He said, “Man cannot serve both mammon and God.” The riches of this earth are entrusted to man from the very beginning. God entrusted to Adam the stewardship of this earth, and gave Adam the privilege of naming the plants and animals. The worldly treasures should be seen as means to build treasures in heaven.

Our Lord calls us to gain spiritual wealth through the earthly goods. In the recent calamities, people are encouraged to help those who are affected by the typhoons. Some cook meals, others gather clean clothes, and some would volunteer to help in the distribution of these relief goods. Imagine how many people could be helped if a person shares. If companies would truly embrace corporate responsibility, how many uplifting projects can be organized for the needy? The spirit of true charity overpowers the wickedness of money. Money becomes an instrument to show our care for others, which is the essence of Christian brotherhood – to love one another. Our Lord tells us to detach ourselves from the material wealth, because it enslaves us in greed and hardens our hearts.

As ordinary people, lay Christians were privileged to manage our financial resources. God entrusted to us riches, and gave us freedom to utilize our resources. Our freedom enables us to make decision about the material things we possess. That freedom should also move us to become more responsible in our actions. We should realize that our actions have consequences. When treasures and money are involved two virtues always pop in my mind: temperance and charity. The virtue of temperance is not just about controlling our emotions, but having mastery over our whims and pleasures. Large amount of money might lure us to buy things we don’t need, and to buy luxurious items.

Similarly, in the Parable of the Unfaithful Steward, he wasted the master’s goods. Pope Francis said that whenever wasting food is like stealing from the table of the poor.[1] We might fall in the trap of consumerism, but through the virtue of temperance we would control our expenditures and acquire only what is necessary. We would gain mastery of ourselves and we will learn how to weigh the value of material things. Our moderation will have deeper meaning whenever we mortify our urge of buying and offer it to something greater.

They say Christians have charitable hearts which make them distinct in the early years of Christianity. I believe that Our Lord truly inspired them to be generous to one another. One of my friends said that it is not evil to aspire greater wealth. She said, “Be hopeful and keep on dreaming, don’t you see how much good you could do if you have great wealth.” It gave me another perspective of money and material wealth. Yes, some people go astray when they have huge wealth and become greedy, too. But as long as our heart follows God’s voice, material wealth will become a passport to heaven. We are always reminded by Our Lord to serve God and not the mammon, and we should always adhere to that. If we had all the resources in the world, won’t we ask God, the Creator of universe to guide us? God knows everything, and God has the perfect knowledge of creating good in this world. He will certainly love to hear your voice. We must seek His advice with our decisions. God will not only guide us, but He will help us to become detached from the worldly goods. He will stretch out our arms to become charitable. Hence, we would never be a slave of money, but a servant of God who is willing to share his material possessions for the good of the many.


MS. ANNA GEFRELIZ PEÑARANDAis a graduate of Bachelor of Library and Information Science at the University of Santo Tomas. She is currently the librarian of the Philippine Dominican Center of Institutional Studies.

Ordinary Time, Cycle C, OP Institutions, Corruption, Greed, Charity, Love, Wealth, Money, Temperance, Generosity

[1] Pope Francis’ message last June 5, 2013 in a general papal audience at the St. Peter’s Square.

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