THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH
Her Doctrine and Morals
Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost
26 August 2018
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Our Lord Jesus Christ cautions us against the inclination to fall beneath our station and dignity as children of God. Forgetting ourselves and seeking after the material things of this earth we become servants of these things rather than masters of them. Too often, we slip from using these material things to support our lives into the situation where we strive and labor to obtain a surplus of these material things. The miser seeks money, not to use it, but to accumulate and possess it. The glutton seeks food and drink, not to nourish and sustain his life, but for the simple pleasure of consuming it.
God has commanded us to labor for Him and He will reward us with all that we need for both body and soul. We are foolish when we forget God and our souls to labor for material things. Our reasoning should be that we work because we have received or because we have eaten. However, all too often we work so that we may receive or to eat and drink. We labor for things rather than God. We serve things rather than God. In the actual order of things, we have all received from God before He has asked us to work. He has given us physical life, health, strength, intelligence, etc. then He asks us to labor for Him and for our souls. In reversing this order and working for material things we make false gods and masters of these things.
We cannot faithfully serve two masters. We cannot put God and mammon on the same level. It is a gross insult to God to be brought down by us and placed on the same level as the gifts that He has given us. It is a terrible injustice that we inflict upon Him. Yet, all too often, we go even further and we place the very gifts of God above Him. We work for them, we desire them, we serve them. We make masters and gods out of these and forget the True God, Lord, and Master.
It is easy to pay lip service to God from time to time, and then actually live out our lives as if He did not exist. We think, speak, and work for material things rather than for Him. We desire the things of our bodies, rather than the well-being of our souls. We love, seek, and desire to please materiality rather than spirituality. In this, we serve mammon and despise God.
Jesus gives us further proof of how foolish this is when He asks us what we can actually accomplish with all our labor, care and anxiety. Which of us can increase or decrease our stature by our labors? It is only God that can do this. It is only God that gives the increase.
We need not be solicitous for the things of the body. God has given us our bodies, and He gives us what we need for them. He provides us with food, clothing, and shelter. We need not serve, strive for, or be anxious about any of these. God created the birds and He provides for them. They need not work or store into barns. He created the flowers and clothed them with the most exquisite color and forms. He gives to all that He creates all that they need. Our efforts to improve upon this is vain and silly. The power and wealth of King Solomon could never adorn him with as much beauty as the lily of the fields have.
We must labor and we must be solicitous. We must serve a master. We must worship a God. This is a very essential part of our nature. God has created us to labor, He has even commanded us to labor. Jesus wishes for us to understand that we must desire and labor for God and the things of our souls. Seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and its justice and all these other things will be given to you besides. We should strive to work because it is a kind of debt that we owe to God. We should avoid the desire to work so that we can obtain more or greater material things than God has already given us.
The reminder for us today is that we are in debt to God not to this world or the money lenders of this world. Let us pay them off as best we can and as St. Paul says: "owe no man anything, but to love one another." (Romans 13:8) We can have none of these material things eternally, so we should "use them as if we used them not." (1 Corinthians 7:31) The only things we can possess eternally are the things of the spirit. We should be truly desirous of these and seek and work for them. This will please God; this will keep us in our proper station as servants of the true and good Master.
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