Saturday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time
“You cannot serve God and mammon.”
These famous words from Jesus mark a clear divide between Heaven and earth, and between the spiritual and the material. But to consider these words of Jesus seriously, we need first to address an underlying assumption.
The culture that surrounds modern persons in the West presumes that each person is his or her own boss. Modern Western culture teaches children from an early age that they are not meant to serve anyone or anything. In fact, both God and mammon serve me and my needs!
However, while the modern person may believe such ideas, so strongly reinforced as they are by modern culture, Jesus is offering a caution. In fact, most of today’s Gospel passage is about the dangers of believing that mammon can serve oneself.
What begins in one’s mind as the idea of mammon serving oneself eventually ends in the servitude of the self to mammon. The slave that mammon is thought to be becomes the master of the self. This is the crippling servitude that Jesus is diagnosing, so to speak, through the examples He offers in this passage.
That we might live authentically, Jesus invites us to enter into a relationship with God as our Lord and Master. This relationship of serving God is radically different than that in which one ends up serving mammon. In the relationship that Jesus invites us to, through serving God, we become His “friends” [see John 15:15] and His “beloved children” [Ephesians 5:1].