GOD AND MAMMON (DISGUISED AS ANXIETY)
Jesus knows human nature so well. He knows that the human person can only concentrate on one thing at once. I do not think Jesus would have agreed with the modern notion that multitasking is a virtue!
Jesus isn’t anti-money, but is instead anti-anxiety. St Ignatius would call it an “indifference” to material goods. Jesus is not admonishing us, just stating this as a fact!
It’s the mass accumulation of worldly goods and riches that lead to fighting the multiple masters.
Remember you can’t take it with you!
Jesus urges us to liberate ourselves from worry and anxiety about our body and material things such as food and clothing. To be concerned about food because right now I am very hungry and do not have anything to eat is very different from worrying whether I will have food next month; to be anxious about what is happening when I am in intensive care is very different from wondering how long my health will hold up in the coming years; to be fretting because I have no money to pay my rent with the landlord knocking at the door is very different from wondering whether I will ever be rich. Worry and anxiety about the future are a waste of time and energy yet we indulge in them so much. They are a waste of time and energy because they are about things which do not exist and very possibly may never exist.
As Fr Tony de Mello, a Jesuit missionary and spiritual theologian in India used to say, quoting a Buddhist axiom: “Why worry? If you don’t worry, you die; if you do worry, you die. So, why worry?” Okay I will save you from my rendition of the old Bobby McPherran song “Don’t worry, Be Happy”
Archbishop Fulton Sheen summarized this dynamic many years ago. “Those who deny the immortality of the soul almost always substitute for it the immortality of the means of subsistence,” he wrote. Those who live as if this world is all that exists and matters are the followers of mammon. We must keep in mind that mammon is not money, per se, but the personification of riches — the idolization of things. Mammon is the god of having, acquiring and hoarding. Jesus did not teach that money or material things are bad, but that they must, in every way, be kept in their rightful place and used for their proper ends.
It is said “Stress makes you think that everything must happen right now.
Faith reassures us that will happen in God’s time”
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its trials—
it simply empties today of its joy.
Anxiety does not empty tomorrow of its sorrow—
it empties today of its strength.”
Jesus first tells us not to be anxious, and then provides the rationale:
• God provides for the sparrow, who works but does not worry.
• God, who gave us life, will provide for our needs.
• Our worry is futile; it does not accomplish anything.
Sometimes we can learn from others, the reverend Billy Graham is quoted as saying:
“We are rich in the things that perish,
but poor in the things of the spirit.
We are rich in gadgets, but poor in faith.
We are rich in goods, but poor in grace.
We are rich in know-how, but poor in character.
We are rich in words, but poor in deeds.”
To be fully alive, again Fr Tony de Mello also used to advise: “Be yourself. Be here. Be now.”
Remember, Enjoyment and happiness are only in the present. Nowhere else. If we keep looking forward or looking back we will never find happiness. It is right here in our grasp at every moment of every day. Again as Fr Tony used to say, “You have everything you need right now to be happy.”
Our prayers are precious to God, because we are precious to God. He invites us to come back again—and again—and again—because he loves to hear from us. He loves to have us near. He loves us.
• While God might not always give us everything we want—any more than you would give your children everything they want—Jesus promises that God will bless us when we call on him day and night (Luke 18:7)
My wife has a decorative tile that says:
God’s 3 Answers to our prayers:
2. NOT YET!
3. I have something better in mind!
The first saint I remember being canonized in my lifetime, the great Padre Pio famously said:
Pray, hope, and don’t worry. Worry is useless. God is merciful and will hear your prayer.”
Do we believe that? How our lives would be transformed if only we could really believe it! Jesus puts that same thing in different words, “Do not worry about tomorrow: tomorrow will take care of itself.” God is only to be found in the here and now; he is always available.
GOD BLESS YOU!