Jesus Knows Our Hearts

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Memorial of Saint Martin of Tours, Bishop

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: Dear Lord, thank you for the gift of another day, thank you for the grace of coming before you in prayer. Please increase my faith, hope, and love so that I may love you above all else. Help me to be receptive to your word. I entrust my needs and the needs of my family to your care. 

Encountering Christ:

  1. Make Friends with Dishonest Wealth: In yesterday’s reading, Our Lord praised the dishonest steward for his ingenuity, and in today’s reading, he is encouraging people to “invest” their dishonest gain in heavenly goods. Even when honestly acquired, we do well to invest in eternal life by putting our wealth and gifts at the service of others. God gives us all we have precisely to fulfill our mission and to build up his kingdom. Eternal life is the only truly secure investment we can make. Eventually, all material wealth will fail since we cannot bring it with us beyond the grave. However, the good we do for others can increase the love in their hearts and ours, and such a growth in grace and love is what prepares us for heaven. 
  2. In Small Matters: “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.” Jesus knows the human heart well. Great vice or great virtue usually begins with very small actions. The corrupt politician or businessperson starts by just bending a few rules. The conscience grows dull and the transgressions become larger and larger. If these transgressions continue unchecked, the person can become quite corrupt. Thankfully, the inverse is also true. Small acts of honesty and kindness sufficiently repeated can gradually make a corrupt person a virtuous one. Naturally, we must rely upon grace for true conversion. However, grace elevates nature, not replaces it. Therefore, we must persistently work on doing the right thing in small matters. Then, when the larger challenges come, we will be ready. 
  3. You Cannot Serve Two Masters: “No servant can serve two masters.” Only one thing or person can have the first place in your heart. “He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.” Loving God above all things means a willingness to let go of things or relationships if they prove to be obstacles to my relationship with God. In another passage, Our Lord said, “If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into Gehenna” (Matthew 5:29). At times, we may have to break off certain relationships that lead us to sin. However, it is more likely that we simply have to change how we live a particular relationship by placing God at the center. For example, perhaps a husband and wife have been relying too much on each other for their ultimate happiness. Once they realize that only God can fulfill their deepest desires, then they can adjust their expectations of each other. They are free to be imperfect companions in life’s journey. God becomes the foundation upon which they can both stand, and yes, hold each other up too.

Conversing with Christ: Dear Jesus, I want you to be the center and foundation of my life. Please help me to love you above all things, and to love all things in you. Let my money, talents, experiences, and relationships draw me always closer to you. Help me to love you in the smallest of tasks, and in so doing to prepare myself to love you in the greater ones too.

Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will offer up three small tasks that I must do with great love for you.

For Further Reflection: Read ‘Be Faithful to God in Little Things’ by Father Jean Nicolas Grou in Catholic Exchange. 

Written by Fr. John Bullock, LC.

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