The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What does “tainted money” (or “unrighteous mammon”) have to do with heavenly treasure and eternal life? Jesus exhorts his disciples to be like the shrewd steward who used money generously to make friends and win for himself a secure and happy future (see the parable of the dishonest steward in Luke 16:1-9). Generous giving is connected with alms-giving – the sharing of our financial and material resources with those in need (Luke 12:33). Those who receive alms become your friends because you are merciful to them in their time of need, just as God is merciful to you in your need for his forgiveness and help.
The rabbis had a saying, “The rich help the poor in this world, but the poor help the rich in the world to come.” Ambrose, a 4th century bishop commenting on the parable of the rich fool who tore down his barns to build bigger ones to store his goods. said: The bosoms of the poor, the houses of widows, the mouths of children are the barns which last forever. The true treasure which lasts is the treasure stored up for us in heaven. God richly rewards those who give generously from the heart to help those in need. True generosity does not impoverish – but enriches – the giver What is the enemy of generosity? It’s greed, the excessive desire for personal gain and security. However, we do not need to be afraid for true generosity does not impoverish the giver, but enriches that person a hundredfold! Generosity expands the soul – but greed contracts it. God is generous and superabundant in lavishing his gifts upon us. We can never outmatch God in generosity. He has given us the best of gifts in sending us his only-begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, who offered up his life for us on the cross. The Father also offers us the gift of the Holy Spirit who fills us with the fruit of peace, joy, patience, kindness, love, and self-control (Galatians 5:22) – and many other blessings as well. Everything we have is an outright gift of God. Do you know the joy and freedom of blessing others with the gifts and resources God has given to you?
What controls or rules your life? Jesus concludes his parable with a lesson on what controls or rules our lives. Who is the master (or ruler) in charge of your life? Our “master” is that which governs our thought-life, shapes our ideals, and controls the desires of the heart and the values we choose to live by. We can be ruled by many different things – the love of money or possessions, the power of position, the glamor of wealth and prestige, the driving force of unruly passions and addictions. Ultimately the choice boils down to two: God and “mammon”. What is mammon? “Mammon” stands for “material wealth or possessions” or whatever tends to “control our appetites and desires.”
When a number of the religious leaders heard Jesus’ parable they reacted with scorn (Luke 16:14). Jesus spoke to the condition of their hearts – they were lovers of money (Luke 16:14). Love of money and wealth crowd out love of God and love of neighbor. Jesus makes clear that our heart must either be possessed by God’s love or our heart will be possessed by the love of something else.
The Lord alone can satisfy our desires and give us generous hearts There is one Master alone who has the power to set us free from greed and possessiveness. That Master is the Lord Jesus Christ who died to set us free and who rose to give us new abundant life. The Lord Jesus invites us to make him the Master and Lord of our lives. He alone can can satisfy the desires of our heart and transform us in his love through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Our money, time, and possessions are precious resources and gifts from God. We can guard them jealously for ourselves alone or allow the love of the Lord to guide us in making good use of them for the benefit of others – especially those in need – and for the work of the Lord in advancing his kingdom. Ask the Lord to fill your heart with a spirit of generosity and joy in sharing what you have with others.
“Lord Jesus, may the fire of your love burn in my heart that I may be wholly devoted to you above all else. Free me from greed and attachment to material things that I may be generous in using the gifts and resources you give me for your glory and for the good of my neighbor.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
TRUSTEES “If you can trust a man in little things, you can also trust him in greater.” Luke 16:10 Have you ever tried to minister to someone who has lost trust in God because they’re disillusioned by the unfaithfulness of other Christians? It’s hard for people to trust again once their initial trust is violated. Thus Scripture says: “the first requirement of an administrator is that he prove trustworthy” (1 Cor 4:2). The Lord has “entrusted” us (Mt 25:22) with great responsibilities (see Mt 25:21, RNAB). We disciples of Christ have the responsibility to “make disciples of all the nations” (Mt 28:19), feed the hungry (Mt 25:42), set captives free (Lk 4:18), overturn injustices such as abortion, racism, and physical and spiritual starvation (Jn 21:15). By our holy lives we are to set such a public example that we could be a light to the world (Mt 5:14-16). We disciples imitate Jesus, Who is trustworthy (1 Thes 5:24). When we trust completely in God, our trusting and trustworthy lifestyle is obvious to others, and they are more likely to trust us. If we don’t trust completely in God in a radical way, then why should we expect others to trust us when we minister to them? If we don’t trust God in how many children we have, in our finances, in our sexuality, and in our lifestyle, then why should we be surprised when others find it difficult to trust us? Many fail to believe in our Master because we, His disciples, don’t reflect His trustworthiness. Repent! “Trust in the Lord with all your heart” (Prv 3:5) or be ranked “among those undeserving of trust” (Lk 12:46). Prayer: Jesus, as Your ambassador to the world (2 Cor 5:20), may I live a life worthy of this calling (Col 1:10). Promise: “What man thinks important, God holds in contempt.” Lk 16:15 Praise: In her first waking moment of every day, Sheila begins praying a rosary. The Lord has used this to give her a deep peace amid the storms of life. (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014. The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements