Inheritance of the Heart

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Saturday of the Thirty-First Week in Ordinary Time


Luke 16:9-15

Jesus said to his disciples: “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings. 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.” The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all these things and sneered at him. And he said to them, “You justify yourselves in the sight of others, but God knows your hearts; for what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”


Opening Prayer: Lord God, you are the only possession that I desire. All the things I have and use are just that—things I have and use. But you, Lord, are my life. You know me in a way that penetrates into my heart. Speak to my heart now as I pray.


Encountering Christ:


  1. What Is Ours: The Lord has marvelous things in store for his faithful ones. We know those Bible verses quite well: St. Paul’s “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man conceived, what God has readied for those who love him,” and St. John’s “In my Father’s house there are many rooms; if not, would I have said that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” Heaven and eternal life belong to us by right as children of God–thanks to God’s prior gratuitous gift–but, in order to receive our birthright, we must nurture the gift of faith he has placed in our soul. Our Lord wants to be our highest priority, and he warns in today’s Gospel that money can sometimes dethrone him in our hearts. “…what is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.”
  2. Undivided: Man is called to be undivided. We cannot serve two masters. Abraham Lincoln said, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” and the old Latin phrase “Do what you are doing” reminds us to focus our attention on the present moment. Sometimes we think of Jesus’ words as commands when they are statements of fact: for example, “No servant can serve two masters” and “You cannot serve God and mammon.” These are flat declarations from the God who knows what is in man. When our interior house is divided, we live turbulent, discordant lives, searching with all our energy for the “next best thing.” God’s will is very different for us.
  3. Being Trustworthy: Another word for an undivided heart is “integrity.” A person with integrity lives a principled life, unwavering in the face of adversity or temptation. Our Lord offers us a lesson in how to become a person of integrity: “The person who is trustworthy in very small matters is also trustworthy in great ones…” Our Lord wants to trust us with great things—with no less than the salvation of souls he places in our path and on our hearts. We become worthy of his trust when we’re faithful to the little things in life: to interior movements of the Holy Spirit, to inspirations from prayer, to requests from our superiors or our spouses—to whatever Our Lord is asking of us in every moment. 


Conversing with Christ: Lord Jesus, cleansing my heart of earthly attachments is hard, and it hurts! Give me the courage to make the sacrifices necessary and to live with an undivided heart. Help me to respond promptly to all of the “little things” you ask of me in this day and every day. 


Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I entrust to you all the day’s happenings and pray this prayer of self-dedication, the St. Ignatius of Loyola’s Suscipe prayer.


For Further Reflection: Reflect on Anne Bradstreet’s poem from the year 1666 entitled “Upon the Burning of Our House.”

Deacon Erik Burckel, LC, is a religious in preparation for the priesthood. He writes articles and short stories for diverse purposes and publications, and can be reached at

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