Reflection & Dialogue: Prayer, faith, danger of addiction to wealth

 Reflection. Prayer and faith. Today’s Sunday readings present an ideal opportunity of combining reflection and dialogue with modern life. The situation reflected by the Pastoral Epistles, of which 1 Timothy is one, is that in which the Christian movement had passed beyond individual churches, such as Corinth, Thessalonica, Philippi, Rome to one in which its numbers have increased and that it is now conscious of being communities belonging to a larger world Church. They must reflect on how to act within a highly organized civil society while remaining faithful to the church’s origin and mission. The first call is to prayer, a community activity but also one for all society; prayer in its various forms, petitions, intercession, and thanksgiving, with no anger or argument. With this, or rather as source of this, goes firm faith in Jesus, his atoning death, and the mission of the Church to be witness of this to all peoples.

            The Gospel reading centres on the dangers of allowing money or wealth to be our masters. It is easy to have this lead to dialogue with modern life. From recent history we know only too well how the pursuit of wealth has destroyed eminent persons, and whole societies. It can lead to crass materialism and neglect or denial of the spiritual. Our present Holy Father has called attention to this, and has exhorted priests and others to turn to a life of Gospel simplicity. Some political leaders, with no strong religious affiliations, are doing the same. There are some eminent examples, of course, of the wealthy and millionaires who give lavishly to voluntary causes, and to the poor. Jesus stresses the value of having mammon, money, wealth, lead to almsgiving, to aid for the poor. It is to be hoped that the Gospel message of the danger of mammon becoming a task-master, leading to bondage, will be noted.

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