(BY REV. FR. ORLY MENDOZA)
Slavery existed as a normal part of society during the time of Jesus. The servant served his master the way an animal served his master. The servant or slave was not considered a human being but only treated as an animal or even simply as a thing that the master could dispose of easily. It had no right except the right to serve his master and his master’s family. But in no way could it serve two masters at the same time.
Christian discipleship can be compared to a master and slave relationship. In front of Christ or of the Triune God we are but mere slaves. We have no right except to serve Him. If we do not want to serve Him, it is simply because we want to serve other gods or idols such as money, fame, power, etc. It is easy to notice when we do not serve God but rather serve the idols because we do not give importance to prayer, community worship, community service, charity, and so forth. We love ourselves more and more and we think always of ourselves and never care for others. We become selfish and greedy. When this happens, we certainly need conversion.
But Christian discipleship is more than a master and slave relationship. It is rather a father-and-son relationship. We follow Jesus Christ in His being a Son of God. We follow Him for us to be like Him, a child of God. The relationship between a father and a son is not ruled by power and fear just like the relationship between a master and a slave. Rather, it is ruled by love and self-surrender.
When Jesus Christ says in the gospel “You cannot serve both God and money” (Lk 16:13c), it only means that there can be no genuine Christian who serves God out of fear and not out of love. Only a true Christian serves God because of love. Service for a Christian emanates from love. Service for God must then proceed from the love for God. Only when we love God with all our heart can we really serve God. Since love cannot be divided, we then cannot serve both God and money.
The gospel calls us towards genuine discipleship that can only be had if we surrender ourselves to Christ and give all our heart and love to Him. There can never be a middle ground for a Christian. It is either we love Christ or we do not love Him. It is either we serve God or we serve ourselves. If we want to follow Christ, then we have to follow Him until the Calvary and do what He did, offering His life for the love of God. We too must give our heart, mind, and life to God so that we may become like Christ, a child of God, and we may have the right to say to God “Our Father.”
TWENTY-FIFTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year II (September 18, 2022)
Am 8:4-7/1 Tim 2: 1-8/Lk 16:1-13(BY REV. FR. ORLY MENDOZA