REFLECTION | ‘You cannot serve both God and money’

Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

Reflection file photo by Bernard Testa/InterAksyon.

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 lifespan? Why are you anxious about clothes?

“Learn from the way the wild flowers 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.”
—Matthew 6: 24-34

There is only one God but there are a lot of gods. When people are full of themselves and to none other, they become gods in their own ways. Worse is when they pretend and act like gods. When we were younger, we always received encouragement from your elders to study hard and give your best so that you may become successful. You were taught that success is getting recognition, receiving awards, and acquiring material things.

Success could also be synonymous with fame, which could make you attractive and a somebody in your school, your community, or within the family circle. Control your ego and don’t let it run your life, however, because the false self is developed especially when we project and pretend ourselves according to what people want us to be.

When success gets in your head, you won’t have the need for others anymore because you will act like you know everything and can do anything you want. This is a false notion of success. One focuses on material wealth and places a higher regard for power, fame, and luxurious possessions rather than on essential things like relationships and spirituality.

When a person is surrounded by such material frills, one tends to act like a god. This separates us from God who is the true and real master of all.

The gospel teaches us whom to serve. The God who is the source of everything; not the gods that we make within and outside of us. Jesus was very clear about this: we cannot serve both God and mammon (or material possessions).

Mammon is man’s riches or when man’s ego, like pride, fame, prestige, power, among others eats up the person. “Ego” is the self-made image that is projected to what pleases other people. “Ego” is the false self, the image that we want people to see. “Ego” is fake, thus, it will not last because with ego comes pride and arrogance.

You cannot serve the one true God and earthly wealth. Either you will love one or hate the other. God and mammon are not on equal footing. They cannot be equal as the values of the kingdom of God are far different from the values of the world. When you follow the Lord, you will deny yourself, carry the cross and follow Him. You should empty yourself and be willing to suffer, die, and rise again with Him and like Him. And only then can one follow the Lord.

When you serve mammon, you become self-centered and self-righteous. Your dependence on your self-created image is all very temporary and will not last forever. It ends somewhere and sometime when you become ill, rejected, or depressed, when you suffer from pain of any sorts. Mammon will give you life. It is only in God that we are able to live and relish the fullness of life.

Let us therefore seek what is good and what is pleasing to God, let us take the way towards God. As followers of Christ, let us go closely to Christ and seek righteousness so that we will live our lives in God’s accord.

Let us reflect, pray, and ask ourselves:

Do I sincerely follow the will of God and not insist on what I really want in life?

Do I genuinely serve the Lord or do I control people around me because of my riches and power?

Do I seek God honestly or work only for my self- gratification?

Do I love God heartily?

Almighty and Loving God, may we only seek you and work for everlasting life and not the ones that give us temporary satisfaction or that corrupt us. May we love and serve you and your Church and not our personal interests and satisfactions.  Help us and guide us always to the right path where it is perfect and true.  May we seek you and your righteousness so that we can enjoy the graces of being children of God.  This we ask through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

Let us remember in our prayers those whom we had promised to pray for; especially those who are lonely  and hopeless, the sick and the suffering.  May the Lord keep them in His heart and strengthen them so they can face the world with faith and hope.