My greetings to Prisca and Aquila, my fellow workers in Christ Jesus, who risked death to save my life: I am not the only one to owe them a debt of gratitude, all the churches among the pagans do as well. My greetings also to the church that meets at their house.
Greetings to my friend Epaenetus, the first of Asia’s gifts to Christ; greetings to Mary who worked so hard for you; to those outstanding apostles Andronicus and Junias, my compatriots and fellow prisoners who became Christians before me; to Ampliatus, my friend in the Lord; to Urban, my fellow worker in Christ; to my friend Stachys; Greet each other with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.
I, Tertius, who wrote out this letter, greet you in the Lord. Greetings from Gaius, who is entertaining me and from the whole church that meets in his house. Erastus, the city treasurer, sends his greetings; so does our brother Quartus.
Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.
Jesus said to his disciples, ‘I tell you this: use money, tainted as it is, to win you friends, and thus make sure that when it fails you, they will welcome you into the tents of eternity. The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great; the man who is dishonest in little things will be dishonest in great. If then you cannot be trusted with money, that tainted thing, who will trust you with genuine riches? And if you cannot be trusted with what is not yours, who will give you what is your very own?
‘No servant can be the slave of two masters: he will either hate the first and love the second, or treat the first with respect and the second with scorn. You cannot be the slave both of God and of money.’
The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and laughed at him. He said to them, ‘You are the very ones who pass yourselves off as virtuous in people’s sight, but God knows your hearts. For what is thought highly of by men is loathsome in the sight of God.’
….but God knows your hearts
In today’s reading, Jesus tells us that we cannot be both wealthy and serve the Lord, as if God and money are in opposing teams. It calls to mind the parable of the rich young man who did not want to give up his wealth when Jesus asked him to give it all up and to follow Him.
Often, something else becomes the master of our lives. For those of us who consider Jesus as that master, they are already on the right path. But some of us have other masters or idols — it could be material wealth, as stated in the gospel; or it could be possessions, an addiction, or anything that we cannot give up and perhaps idolise. It could even be a person as well. At a retreat, one priest said that these are the drama series that the elderly watch habitually and, for the young adults, it is the handphones they cannot seem to put down. Even while worshipping in church, we observe people who are using their phones when it should be time that we dedicate towards worshipping God. Why do we allow our attention and time to be divided, to the extent that God is not at the centre of our lives, and no longer the focus during the Eucharistic celebration?
During our time of worship at mass and in our personal prayer time, what is robbing us from this union with our Lord? If we somethimes feel that we do not have the time for prayer nor for our families, what is getting in the way of this? If Jesus asks us to let go of everything and everyone today, will we still hold something back? That is the thing we need to be aware of as the other master. We need to remember at all times, that everything we have is a gift from God — people, possessions, desires, dreams — all good things come from God. Hence the very things that hold us back may not necessarily be bad; though it could be for some of us. However, God has blessed us with wisdom so that we can let go and let God.
We can fool others by portraying a certain image of ourselves but we need to be reassured that we need not wear a mask and the Lord who created us knows us as we are –He knows our hearts.
Being in a relationship is a sort of esteemed status and often, I have encountered people advising me to find someone who would ‘love me’. The terms of love and what this love means is not seen as what God intended for a man and his wife. Cohabitation, pre-marital unions, same sex relationships are sadly considered as a means to happiness. If we are in these relationships, we know that we are not living in a state of grace and that, by our own doing, we are applying ungodly masters in our lives.
Today, let us give to God the other master which we are serving. Let us decide to be virtuous and righteous by everything we think, say and do. Let us remember that our Saviour King was born in a stable to a carpenter and his wife — a humble state which He assumed so that we could be made rich. Born of human parents and suffering death on the cross, He showed us that He held nothing back, so that we could be together with Him in eternity and so that we are made one with Him.
(Today’s OXYGEN by Josephine Dionisappu)
Prayer: Father, teach us to let you be the Lord of our lives by letting go of anything that comes in between us and the plans that you have for us. Show us what it means to be in loving obedience to you.
Thanksgiving: Lord, every day we will bless your name and we will praise your name forever. Great are you and highly to be praised.