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Whom Do You Serve?
Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples: “No one 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. Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink, or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they? Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span? Why are you anxious about clothes? Learn from the way the wildflowers grow. They do not work or spin. But I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was clothed like one of them. If God so clothes the grass of the field, which grows today and is thrown into the oven tomorrow, will he not much more provide for you, O you of little faith? So do not worry and say, ‘What are we to eat?’ or ‘What are we to drink?’ or ‘What are we to wear?’ All these things the pagans seek. Your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given you besides. Do not worry about tomorrow; tomorrow will take care of itself. Sufficient for a day is its own evil.”
Opening Prayer: Lord Jesus, I praise you and I adore you. Forgive me for being so concerned about worldly things. Thank you for the greatest gift of your Holy Spirit. Help me to place all my needs and worries into the loving hands of our heavenly Father. Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit as it was in the beginning is now and will be forever. Amen.
- God and Mammon: “No one can serve two masters.” To those whom Jesus preached, being a slave, the property of another, was easily understood. For centuries the Jewish people had been enslaved by many powerful nations. For most of us today, being a slave is not a possibility—or is it? Jesus states that it is not a matter of if we serve but who we serve, either God or mammon (Aramaic word meaning wealth or property). Where we put our hearts, minds, and efforts—that’s who we serve. Slaves to mammon serve wealth, social status, and power. This service may bring worldly privileges and prestige; our cages may be velvet and our shackles made of silk, but we are trapped nonetheless, by the burdens of “keeping it up” or fears that we will lose everything.
- Worry: “Do not worry about your life.” Worry can come from within: “to torment oneself with disturbing thoughts.” Worry can come from without: “to harass by repeated biting, snapping, etc.,” which is how the evil one places troubling thoughts into our minds. Whether we bring worry upon ourselves, or we suffer temptations, worrying brings us no good. As Jesus said, “Can any of you by worrying add a single moment to your life-span?” Instead, chronic worry reduces the length of our life. At every Mass, we are blessed so as to reduce our worry: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” These are not just words; they contain the power of what they say. It is up to us to receive the peace that God offers us.
- The Importance of Man: “Look at the birds in the sky; they do not sow or reap, they gather nothing into barns, yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are not you more important than they?” The Catechism states, “We believe that God needs no preexistent thing or any help in order to create, nor is creation any sort of necessary emanation from divine substance. God creates freely ‘out of nothing’” (CCC 296). It continues, “The universe, created in and by the eternal Word, the ‘image of the invisible God,’ is destined for and addressed to man, himself created in the ‘image of God,’ and called to a personal relationship with God… for God willed creation as a gift addressed to man, an inheritance destined for and entrusted to him” (CCC 299). With this understanding, we are called to praise God for the great gift of creation, trust him to provide for all we need, and serve him confidently and unafraid as stewards of creation.
Conversing with Christ: Lord, you entrusted Adam and Eve to serve you in the Garden of Eden by tending it and having dominion over it. They forfeited this privilege. But through you, our care of the Father’s creation is restored. Help me, Jesus, to be a good steward of your creation, over which you gave me dominion. May I confidently serve you.
Resolution: Lord, today by your grace I will pay attention to how I treat your physical creation and do my part to be a good steward.
For Further Reflection: The song Gotta Serve Somebody by Bob Dylan.
Nan Balfour is an events coordinator for Pilgrim Center of Hope, a Catholic Evangelization Ministry that answers Christ’s call by guiding people to encounter him so as to live in hope as pilgrims in daily life. She is also a mother, writer, and speaker on Catholic topics.