"Gold has been the ruin of many…"

(Ecclesiasticus 31.6)

Money is important.
At least this is what we have been taught.
When it is a question of money, everybody is of the same religion,
the French satirist Voltaire once wrote.

Our society is built on the corner stone of money.

Those who possess money succeed and move forward,
those who have no money are left behind and put aside.
Money means esteem, respect, love.
Politicians know this
and they always put in front of us this money trap.
Your employer knows this also
and he manages your life by dangling this carrot in front of your nose.

In society your value is proportionate to the money you have.
A Yiddish proverb satirically says
"With money in your pocket,
you are wise and you are handsome and you sing well, too"
So easy to be arrogant when money abounds.

Hence it is understandable that Jesus Christ spoke
so often about money.
He comes out strong with his teachings on money,
"You can not serve both God and money!"
He did not say:
'you can not serve God and sex or pride or …'
but you can not serve God and money!

Jesus Christ knows human nature.
He knows the remarkable influence
money has on man's heart.
Money has the power
to penetrate into one's heart
and place itself as the supreme sovereign over everything
even eliminating God and others away from our heart.

It does away with God
because money creates in us a false sense of security.
We think that we can do without God.
More or less He becomes superfluous.
As long as I have money,
as long as I can get what I want with money
what do I need God for?
The temptation is to keep God on the side
just in case there is a need for Him
but my real trust is on what I have.
It is the money in my pocket and in the bank
that really puts my mind at trust.
As someone once remarked,
"better five thousand dollars in the bank than God in my heart"!

No wonder then that Jesus Christ tells us that it is easier
for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than
for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.
By the way,
no need to have a lot of money to be rich.
It is the attitude inside us that makes us 'rich'.

Jesus advises wisely,
"be rich in front of God".
Becoming rich in front of God means
having God in abundance.
Because those who have God in abundance,
"everything will be given them".
Do you think - says Jesus Christ- ,
that your Father does not know that you need these things -
money, food, clothes?!

An American tourist who went to visit Rabbi Hachem.
He was astonished when he found that the room he lived in was almost empty.
"Where is your furniture?" the American asked.
"My furniture?! Where is yours?" asked the Rabbi.
"But I am a tourist here…" stammered the American.
"So am I!!" answered the Rabbi, "I am just passing by here on earth"!

Hoarding for yourself is folly.
Becoming rich in front of God is wisdom.
Sure, use money.
But don't let them make you their puppet!!

"Do not wear yourself out in quest of wealth,
stop applying your mind to this.
Fix your gaze on it, and it is there no longer,
for it is able to sprout wings
like an eagle that flies off to the sky."

(Proverbs 23, 4-5)

(c) Fr. Pius Sammut, OCD. Permission is hereby granted for any non-commercial use, provided that the content is unaltered from its original state, if this copyright notice is included.