In the gospel, Jesus says, “for the children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light”. This admonition was clearly manifested also in the lives of those cheating the poor in the first reading as recounted by Amos. They, like the steward in the Gospel, were only concerned with their personal gain and that is why they were fixing their scales.
Dearest sisters and brothers, among the lessons from today’s readings is a call for us to once again re-evaluate our relationship with material goods and the role they play in our lives. Are they means for us or an end? In Genesis 1: 28, God said to us, “be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over every material thing on earth”.
If we ask: what is the meaning of that mandate? It is that God from the beginning, has set what our relationship with material things should be. That we should be their master and not their slaves. It is this relationship that was overturned in today’s first reading and the Gospel. The dishonest people in the first reading, and the steward in the Gospel, were all dominated by their greed, and their desire for wealth, and riches had dominion over them.
How does material goods rule over one? When they are pursued as if they are the only thing that matters in life that one’s life is centered on them. For example, when our desire to acquire money to buy a house, buy a car, throw a party for Quinceñera, etc., becomes more important than our spiritual life, like coming to Mass on Sunday, being honest in our places of work or our businesses, attending to our spiritual needs in all its forms, saying our daily prayers, etc., then we are slaves to our desires. In other words, one lives only for his or her wealth.
Again, material goods rule over one when they are more important to one than one’s fellow sisters and brothers. It is obvious to us that when quest for wealth takes utmost importance in life, fellow human beings are treated as objects, means, and instruments to be exploited. In fact, human beings are to such a one, another number.
In Genesis, God after creating material things, gave us the mandate to use them as means to sustain life and not as an end to be adored and worshiped. It is only human beings that are created in God’s image and they are the only one that are an end in themselves. Anytime one regards material goods as more important than fellow sisters or brothers, one is serving mammon and not God as Jesus warns in the Gospel.