And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.“Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own?
No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved. http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
“Listen with the heart, not just the ears.” This is not a recorded saying of Jesus but I think it expresses an attitude we can hear underneath all his teaching. It is an attitude the Church has understood through all these centuries since Jesus.
The Gospel reading for today ends with Jesus saying, “What is of human esteem is an abomination in the sight of God.” Listening with the heart, the Church has not understood these words as they stand. Some things ‘of human esteem’ — in moderation and with the proper perspective — have been praised and encouraged by the Church, things like learning, good health, economic welfare, freedom from want, etc. These things are valued by the human family in general as well as by the Church.
Listening with the heart, we know what Jesus means, that greed and power and honors can make one empty of God and full of one’s self. Jesus does not condemn all that is good in ordinary human life but only that which leads the individual to believe s/he is the center of the universe.
How, in what circumstances, with whom do I listen with the heart?
—Fr. Dennis Dillon, S.J. serves as pastoral minister at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI. He is also an avid stamp collector and accomplished magician.
Lord, while others might misjudge us, doubt our motives, or question our commitment, you alone know our heart. Our greatest accomplishment is sometimes a private victory not known to anyone but you. Help us to focus more on seeking your love and less on seeking the approval of others.
Raise our awareness and strengthen our resolve to be faithful in small matters. And when situations occur with serious consequences, we will then be prepared to have the courage and persistence necessary to stand for your truth.
—The Jesuit Prayer TeamPlease share the Good Word with your friends!