by Laura Passard Yurko
Sunday's Gospel (Luke 16:1-13) touches on the subject of money: how we can get caught up in our temporal needs and wants at the sacrifice of our spiritual needs and wants. This is clearly stated by Jesus at the end of the passage, "You cannot serve both God and mammon." But, what exactly is mammon? It's not quite "money." During Thursday's meeting, we were given a supplemental handout taken from Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio's essay "God and Mammon?" which has provided me with a lot of clarity and insight and is the basis for my reflection this week.
Note: Below is the excerpt from our meeting. Any emphasis is mine. To read the essay in its entirety, click on the link above.
We all know mammon has something to do with money. But the word he uses here is not the common word for money. Mammon means unjust gain, greed, or money made as an end in itself, an ultimate value, a controlling force. Some people use money to provide for their family. Others sell out their family, their country, their integrity...for money. This is where money becomes mammon, a relentless god that demands that all bow before it and offer sacrifice.
I think "mammon" can refer to any type of fortune - whether it's a fortune we have or long to have. We are all provided for in one way or another. Yet, when we approach these gifts with fear and anxiety - a fear of loss or insecurity about the future (or in my case a tendency to panic and obsess) - we tend to close ourselves off, protecting these riches from others. In so doing we are serving only ourselves. We need to rid ourselves of that anxiety and move forward with the confidence that we will be taken care of. That, what we have been given must flow through us and be shared with others. Whether it's financial riches, intelligence, compassion, or physical strength (to name only a few) we need to be vessels of God's grace and love - constantly being filled, shared, and never completely empty.
I must trust. I must have faith. I must remain open to accept all that God will provide for me as He does for all of His creation. I must allow all that I receive to flow through me and share these gifts with all I encounter.
Click on the image to read a meditation shared with us by one of our New Moms. It hits on some of the same points discussed during our meeting and those reflected above.
Reflections inspired by our weekly faith sharing and fellowship.