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Serving God or Money?

September 18, Sunday of the 25th Week in Ordinary Time
Daily Readings: Am 8:4–7 • Ps 113:1–2, 4–6, 7–8 • 1 Tm 2:1–8 • Lk 16:1–13

The obsession with money leads to idolatry. Jesus warns us in the gospel today, "You cannot serve both God and money."

We all need money to pay for our basic needs - food, shelter, clothing, medicine, education. Nobody wants to be poor or destitute.  We want to live a decent life. We want to have enough money for ourselves and for others. We need money to fund our projects and programs that can help those in need. By itself, there is nothing wrong with trying to earn money.

But what happens if the sole purpose of our existence is to accumulate money? What happens when we believe that the only source of happiness is having more money? What happens when our life is driven by the insatiable greed for wealth and material possessions?

This can lead us to use whatever means to achieve our hearts desire. We can become prone to evil. This can make us capable of inflicting suffering and pain on others. This can lead us to exploit and oppress others – especially the poor and the needy.

Theft, corruption, murder, lies and deceit can accompany our effort to gain more and more money. This is what prophet Amos denounces in the first reading. He warns that God will harshly judge those who do so.

The obsession with money leads to idolatry - worship money as god rather than the true God. This is what Jesus warns us in the gospel today. "You cannot serve both God and money." The worst idolatry is not the worship of images and statues but rather the worship of money – the god Mammon.

When money becomes our god, we will be enslaved by money. We become corrupt. We will never be satisfied. We lose our humanity – we become selfish, ruthless, proud, blind to the suffering of others. We sacrifice our relationship with family, friends, community and ultimately with the true God. We will destroy others and ourselves.

What is the right attitude to money?

We constantly remind ourselves that it is not our god nor are we slave to it.  We should be guided by ethical principles. We do not exploit others. We do not use evil means in acquiring money.

We should be just. We must be full of kindness and generosity. Above all, we use money not only for our own good but for the good of others – especially the poor and the needy.

We must embrace and practice the spirituality of stewardship. This means being constantly aware that we are simply stewards not owners of what we have. God the creator is the absolute owner of all things – of all the goods on earth which is our common home.

Our time, talent and treasure are blessings that oblige us to care and share with others. We are called to use our resources to fulfil our mission of proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom, making it a reality in our lives, in making this world a better place to live in, in working for peace and justice, and in caring for our common home.

We must constantly remind ourselves that although we need money, it is not the source of our happiness. Rather, it is in serving God and others – especially the poor – that we are truly blessed and filled with happiness.

 

Radio Veritas Asia (RVA), a media platform of the Catholic Church, aims to share Christ. RVA started in 1969 as a continental Catholic radio station to serve Asian countries in their respective local language, thus earning the tag “the Voice of Asian Christianity.”  Responding to the emerging context, RVA embraced media platforms to connect with the global Asian audience via its 21 language websites and various social media platforms.

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