Idolatry Revisted

Tuesday of Week 20 in Ordinary Time

Whenever this gospel passage came up in my youth, I would also hear that money is the devil’s manure. Then some shrewd church administrator would add, “But we use it to fertilize the Lord’s vineyard.” The challenge we face when confronting the matter of wealth and money lies in how high a place we give it in our hierarchy of priorities. Not all rich people make idols of their wealth. You can tell when they have to decide between using it for themselves or using it for others. Wealth and money become a detriment to salvation when they replace God and God’s will as our highest priorities. In effect, they take God’s place and we have turned them into idols. So we should ask ourselves whether or not our priorities of money and wealth rise to that level. It may seem as daunting to squeeze a rich person into heaven through the eye of a needle, but Jesus says all things are possible with God.

The issue is not money and wealth necessarily, but the arrogance of one who believes God has no place in their lives because they have all the security and power and influence they need to succeed and destroy their enemies. If we only have to contend with this present existence, then such a position would seem secure. But if we have yet to face God when we depart from this life, and God would have to determine whether or not we have a place with him, we might consider giving God a higher place in our hierarchy of priorities.

Money can’t buy happiness, although many would agree it helps a great deal. But eternal happiness can’t be bought with money or anything else we possess in this life. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the rich and powerful in this life were shut out of the eternal wedding banquet while those they despised and had little regard for had seats of honor at the table? Short-term happiness can be deceiving. We could use a different and better perspective.

This mass was offered for the repose of +Joseph Maines.

Rolo B Castillo © 2020


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