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Mass prep – 3 points/30 seconds: Money is a good servant, a bad master

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Fr. Paweł Rytel-Andrianik - published on 07/30/22

Jesus speaks about the importance of a hierarchy of values.

The Gospel for this Sunday is Lk 12:13-21

1. Proverbs provide fitting comments on the Gospel

Proverbs are the wisdom of peoples, and they too can make a fitting commentary on the Gospel. For example, a French proverb says that money is a good servant but a bad master. A similar conclusion follows from the Gospel verses for today’s Sunday. 

2. Key words

Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.

If one lives to have as much as possible, one wastes life on accumulating things. It is such a waste. Jesus tells us that life does not depend on possessions. This is well summed up by a Chinese proverb:

“You can buy yourself a house, but not a home.
You can buy a bed, but no sleep.
You can buy a watch, but no time.
You can buy a book, but no knowledge.
You can buy a position, but no respect.”

That is why Jesus speaks about the importance of a hierarchy of values. A Greek proverb reflects the same truth: money should be a means, not the purpose of life.

Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.

Jesus refers to a man whose land produced a bountiful harvest and therefore he decided to build new barns and makes long-term plans; little did he know that his life will be demanded of him that very night. It is therefore of vital importance to be rich in what matters to God. This means being rich in good deeds, such as almsgiving and helping the poor and the needy.

The Book of Proverbs speaks loud and clear: “A man of many friends will come to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

3. Today

“Jesus indicates a path for ‘money laundering,’ a path of brotherly love and generosity for the poor,” wrote Cardinal Gianfranco Ravasi. This is what Christ spoke about: “Sell your property and give alms. Store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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