Who do we serve? God and Mammon are our two choices. There is no third choice, no in-between, and no sitting this one out. We need to know who and what Mammon is so we can be sure not to choose that. This week, as Amos tells us about cheaters, Paul talks about kings, and Jesus tells us about untrustworthy servants, it can be a little confusing if we do not know how to connect all of these to our lives. So, we connect them. Dive in and get help serving the Right Master.
Catechesis At Home – Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C
God and Mammon
Mass Readings are presented verbatim from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) web site in good faith accordance with its “Web and Other Digital Media Usage” guidelines. All Rights are reserved to the USCCB.
God and Mammon
REFLECTION – We Cannot Serve Both God and Mammon
Don’t cheat. Give to the poor, pray for our government leaders, and serve God, not material things. These are the messages given this week in our readings. They seem a bit disjointed at first glance. Which is unusual, in our lectionary. Looking more closely though, they all tie together. Focus on the spiritual, while caring for the physical needs of ourselves and others.
Being sure to live according to God’s law, and working to bring about a lawful state that also follows God’s law, is our duty. We might live in a democratic, capitalistic society, or we might live under an autocracy or dictatorship, with a socialist economy, or anywhere in between. In all cases, we are called to pray for our leaders, that they make and enact laws that enable the freedom to worship our Lord, to help the poor without taking away their dignity, and to pursue the vocation to which God has called us.
Whether or not we have a lot or a little, the focus on material things should be the lowest priority. God is our first priority – loving and serving Him, and then, family and other relationships. Our personal comfort is last. When we follow that order of priority, we can be very poor monetarily and still have joy because we know God is in control. When we put aside our physical comfort, and offer our suffering to grow in holiness, and in the process, help others less fortunate than we are, we are serving God. “Mammon” is a word translated loosely as material things. In the context of the Gospel, it has come to mean “that which is pursued and valued to the point of idolatry and so separates us from God” (Catholic Bible Dictionary, Scott Hahn, Ed.).
DISCUSSION – God and Mammon and Us
One person starts the conversation by asking, “Who is the most important person in your life?” to each person gathered. Talk about why. What do they do, provide, or offer that makes them so important?
Do we behave toward them in a way that reciprocates – love is an action, a sacrifice – or do we treat them poorly, selfishly, even a little bit? Is that because we want what they give us but don’t care that it is actually them – that anybody could give us what we want or need, and so that is what is important, instead of the person? Mammon is what they give, and we should be focused on who they are – made in the image and likeness of God. We do not worship them, or they become more important than God to us. But we do place them more highly than what they do for us.
Perhaps everyone will answer, “Jesus,” to the first question, especially if the first person does. If so, ask everyone “after Jesus, who is the most important…?” But talk about how good it is that Jesus is at the of of the list, and He should be. Go through the same discussion questions above, with Jesus as the topic.
Finish the discussion by praying this small prayer together:
Lord, I Love You for Your own sake and consider not what else You can do for me
ACTIVITY – God and Mammon and Me
Write down your most precious relationships – the people with whom you have the deepest intimacy. Put them in order of most important to least important. Now write down the time spent each week with those people. Re-write your list in order of most time spent with someone (or group) to least amount of time spent. And then compare your lists.
Then do a similar list with your possessions or the “things” that take your time and attention. Discuss how your lists are either God-focused or Mammon-focused. In what ways can you help each other become servants of God versus servants of Mammon?
Finally, each person should write down the prayer from the discussion on something they can keep with them at their bedside or in the car or wherever they can see it in the morning before the day starts – maybe tape it to the bathroom mirror!
DIG DEEPER – Other God and Mammon resources from Holy Owned and Operated:
Article: The Virtue of Humility
Page: Please Donate – Keep Mammon Away by Helping HOO Help Others!
TWMWU: Faith in the Seen and Unseen
TWMWU: Jesus Died For Us
Podcast: Stewardship – What It Is and Is Not – Episode 10
Podcast: Stewardship – How – Episode 11
Podcast: The Sacrament of Holy Orders – Episode 112
What are the God and Mammon in your life?
by Beth & Kristofer Cowles
Other Help on HOO
What is the difference between lust and love?
During this “season of Valentines” Beth and Kristofer cover this (often unknowingly) confusing and vitally important topic before we dive headlong into the pink and roses and hearts and whatnot.
Beth and Kristofer share how to tell the difference between lust and love, and how to teach that to impressionable minds and hearts.
And they do this in the context of Mortal Sin and Theological Virtue: Lust and Love, respectively.
They also, right out of the gate, point to Nick’s seven-part series about Love as a great resource on our web site for this discussion, which is linked to in the show notes.
Living in this world, but not of it, is difficult, and Beth and Kristofer offer us some pointers on how to do that, particularly in this day and age.
And, no, there is no inappropriate or “parental discretion advised” content in this episode.
But they do get attacked by a tree!