Serving the God of Love: Your Weekly Catholic Reflection
Each year, the Catholic Church in the United States designates the third Sunday in September as “Catechetical Sunday”— a day on which to celebrate and pray for the Church’s mission to teach the Gospel to all people.
Here at CMMB, we’re celebrating the life and love of one of the Church’s greatest catechists—the recently canonized Mother Teresa. She responded to God’s call and devoted herself to a life of poverty, living among the poorest of the poor as she served the sick and dying. Although she personally experienced the huge gulf between those who have a lot in this world and those who have nothing, she always insisted that giving money wasn’t as important as giving love:
“Let us not be satisfied with just giving money. Money is not enough, money can be got, but they need your hearts to love them. So, spread your love everywhere you go.”
This week’s Gospel reading also highlights the appropriate role of money of in a Christian’s life. Jesus tells a parable about a dishonest steward who is dismissed because he is squandering his master’s property. In response the steward, in an attempt to ensure favor for himself among the rich man’s debtors, brokers repayment of the rich man’s loans by foregoing the interest and fees that had been levied to line the steward’s pockets. It is this action, in which the steward puts aside his greed and takes the longer perspective in order to enhance his security, which is commended by the rich man.
The moral lesson ends with the often-cited line regarding the need to put God before money:
“No servant can serve two masters. He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.” ~ Luke 16:13
This line is usually interpreted to mean that we should be wise about how we spend our money and not give in to lavish purchases or unnecessary displays of wealth. While this is certainly an important point, not serving the master of money also means that we shouldn’t assume that just giving money to someone will fix their problems. It might help give them much needed things like food, water and shelter, but as Mother Teresa said, “Money is not enough.” To truly help heal someone, we must give them our love—a far more precious and desperately needed commodity.
Today, on Catechetical Sunday, let’s join together and pray for the grace to serve as teachers spreading the love that is the essential message of the Gospel.
*Today’s reflection is inspired by and adapted from the Loyola Press Sunday Connection.