We Cannot Serve both God and False Gods

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The WORD in other words (2022) by Fr Sonny De Rivera SVD (Rome)

Saturday 31st Week in Ordinary Time

“No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” (Luke 11, 16) At first glance, this verse is clear and easy to understand. But the last part screams loud, what is that mammon thing?

The end of this verse, commonly interpreted as “you cannot serve both God and money,” falls short of its meaning. Mammon goes beyond money. It is defined as materialism and worldly gain, a false god having an evil influence.

How do we know if we are serving this false god? Well, let us fact check these situations if they ring true in our lives: worry and anxiety over money, money mismanagement, consistent financial lack, (“I don’t ever have enough”), impulse buying, stinginess (which is often exemplified by not wanting to donate or tithe), greed, an excessive desire to acquire or possess, discontentment and exaggerated emphasis on money.

Most of us would have succumbed to at least one of these situations at some stage in our lives. If we desire to gain trust with God, we need to set our priorities straight. There is no place and no chance for putting God and mammon on an equal level. But occasionally we are self-centered. We surround ourselves with worldly and pleasurable knick-knacks and junk, forgetting the words of Christ that where our treasure is, there our heart will also be. We cannot serve both God and mammon. Each of us must choose.

The Washington Post published an article that enumerated the seven most important lessons we can learn from happy people. One of them is: You must live in the here and now. Goals are essential but don’t miss out on what is happening today.

In the here and now, we are asked to choose God instead of mammon. However, it is easier to make a case for being selfish and choosing pleasure if you live the here and now. Choosing God over mammon requires seeing and choosing beyond the present moment. This means that we select our neighbor instead of ourselves; we choose our integrity instead of comfort and pleasure. We choose to have open hands, not closed fists, to guaranteomfort and pleasure. We choose to have open hands, not closed fists, to guarantee our future and success.

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