AD SENSE

31st Week, Saturday, Nov 7

Philippians 4:10-19 / Luke 16:9-15 

Paul speaks about life: I have learned to cope with all situations.

 Shortly before he died, a young seminarian named James Kelly wrote to a friend: "I have something to share, something to give, even though I am in a hospital unable to leave my room.

Now I live in the present. 1b live in the future seems nonsense to me now. . . .Every experience . . .[has] meaning and value. God is continually revealing himself through our human and personal experiences. . . Every situation we encounter can be a real apostolate. The apostolate is always right here, right now. I really think that this is what Jesus meant when he called us the Light of the World and the Salt of the Earth."

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Do we really believe that every experience— even a bad experience—is an opportunity? "Every part of our lives has value. What has value can be shared." JamesKel1y

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Today we have an interesting juxtaposition of texts. Jesus in the Gospel speaks of the proper use of material goods, while Paul speaks of the concrete ways in which the Philippians have responded to his needs in a material way. For his part, Paul knows what it means to live in humble circumstances as well as what it means to have abundance. Paul finds himself self-sufficient in either set of circumstances. Christ strengthens and empowers him in any situation, but he is still grateful to the Philippians for being mindful of him. He is happy not so much for himself but for the benefits that will accrue to the community. Now he prays that the riches of Christ will be theirs in abundance.

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We know that money can wield power and exert influence and no one can be spared of the temptation and the lure of money and the luxuries of life it can buy. Hence the love for money and the greed for it is the root of all evils imaginable. Over the topic of money there can be prolonged discussions on it as well as endless worries over it.

Even in today's readings, the topic seems to be on money. St. Paul talked about money but it was not about his worry over it; rather it was to be used for service and for how he managed with whatever he had. He had been through his initiation (his experience of Jesus) and he was ready for anything, whether full stomach or empty, whether in poverty or in plenty. There was nothing he cannot master with the help of the One who gives his strength.

Indeed, when we understand the teaching of Jesus about money, we will be able to manage money and not let it manage us. And if we cannot be trusted with money which is not ours, then how can we be sure we won't lose what belongs to us?
When we give in to greed, we will be the losers; but when we live by honesty and integrity, then we show who is our Master. We serve Jesus our Master when we can be trusted even in small things.

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To use money for a worthy cause is commended by Christ in today’s Gospel. In our own times we have seen philanthropists contribute billions of dollars to eradicate disease and poverty in poor parts of the world. This is something that deserves commendation and is wholly in accord with Christian belief. Outsourcing work to poor countries of the world where labor is cheap and employees here find themselves without a job is quite another matter. Is the latter a case of serving God? Or Mammon?

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Let us Pray: Lord our God, you tell us today through your Son that we cannot be at the same time your friends and the friends of money. Make us see more deeply that we are money’s friends when we are unjust to others or tolerate injustice by our silence. But make us also more deeply aware that we are your friends when we value simple living, when we are not greedy for money or social status, but when we invest in people and use your gifts for serving them and building up your kingdom. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.