Today’s Gospel from St. Matthew is a familiar one. In a line familiar to even many without deep scriptural knowledge Jesus tells his disciples that they can only serve one master, that one cannot serve God and mammon. The passage goes on to remind us of the birds in the sky and the flowers of the field, all cared for by God, who will provide all we need.
Seven years ago, I delivered a reflection at a Red Mass at St. Thomas More University Parish in Norman, Oklahoma. (For those not familiar with it, the annual Red Mass offers an opportunity for lawyers, judges and others engaged in public service to reflect on their responsibilities as members of the legal profession.) The Gospel that evening was the same as today’s.
In my reflection, I suggested that Jesus was not asking his disciples to forsake the world and all their goods, but rather to have a proper relationship to the things of this world. Serving God and not mammon means not letting our attachment and desire for things of this world to get out of balance. I spent most of the talk considering those things that run the risk of becoming “mammon” for legal and other professionals.
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