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HOW WE ARE TO USE UNRIGHTEOUS MAMMON
Fr. Steven Scherrer, MM, ThD
Homily of Friday, 31st Week of the Year, November 08, 2013
Rom. 15:14-21, Ps. 97, Luke 16:1-8


"I tell you, Make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations. He who is faithful in very little is faithful also in much; and he who is dishonest in very little is dishonest also in much" (Luke 16:9-10).


This is the parable of the dishonest steward who was about to be dismissed from his stewardship. In order to be supported by his master's debtors after his dismissal, he made friends with them by reducing their bills, thus depriving his master of his usurious interest. When his master discovered what he had done, he praised him, "because he had dealt shrewdly. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in their generation that the sons of light" (Luke 16:8 NKJV). Then Jesus himself tells us that we are to imitate not his dishonesty in lowering the bills but his shrewdness in acting decisively, using money to help others and make friends. "And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of unrighteous mammon, so that when it fails they may receive you into the eternal habitations" (Luke 16:9).


This is how we are to act. We are to use unrighteous mammon to help those in need and gain them as friends who will later receive us into the eternal habitations. Unrighteous mammon is something very little, but if we are faithful in our use of it, that is, using it for those in need, we will also be faithful in much, that is, in spiritual riches, which are true riches. But if we do not use unrighteous mammon properly, who will give us true riches, that is, spiritual riches. "If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous mammon, who will entrust to you the true riches?" (Luke 16:11).


We must use our money faithfully, that is, to help others, those in need, not for our own pleasures. This is because our life should be oriented toward God and neighbor in love and service, not focused on increasing our own worldly pleasures that divide our heart and make us forget God. Therefore a Christian should live a simple life, not a life of luxury. He should renounce a worldly lifestyle and stop imitating the secularized culture around him. He should renounce worldliness and embrace simplicity and evangelical poverty.


A Christian should not have his consolation in the delights of the world, but only in God, lest Jesus say to him, "Woe to you that are rich, for you have received your consolation" (Luke 6:24). Abraham reminded the rich glutton in hell that he already had his consolation in his life, saying, "Son, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner evil things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish" (Luke 16:25). We are to avoid worldly consolations that divide our heart and make us forget God. Since the rich are surrounded by such consolations, Jesus said, "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle that for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God" (Matt. 19:24).


To receive spiritual riches, which are the true riches, we must use unrighteous mammon properly, that is, to get nearer to God by helping those in need, rather than to be drawn away from God by dividing our heart with the pleasures of the world.

 

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