Basic Information

Mass Location: St. Mary Magdalen Chapel, 2532 Ventura Blvd., Camarillo, CA 93010
Mass Time: Sunday 10 a.m. (check parish website bulletin for special feastdays which may be different)
Confessions: 9:00-9:45 a.m. - see schedule below

Friday, September 4, 2015

Homily - Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost - August 30, 2015

Gal. 5:16-24; Mt. 6:24-33

Our Lord says in today’s Gospel that we cannot serve two masters, God and mammon.  Mammon is a Syrian word which means hard master, and represents all the temporal things of life.  The reason we cannot serve two masters is that we have only one purpose in this life, to get to heaven.

St. Paul gives us the context in the Epistle.  He is addressing the Galations, newly baptized, as were many in his missionary destinations.  He says the flesh is opposed to the spirit, and the spirit to the flesh.  By this, he is referring to their former way of life, in which they had no hope except for the things in this life.  But, now, with faith and baptism, they have the gift of salvation, and grace, and sanctifying grace, the indwelling of God with them.  Then, what they have received in reality, they must now inculcate in their way of life.

The Lord in the Gospel suggests that mammon is a false god.  God requires all our loyalty.  And this is why we must be cautious.  He is not saying that we should not give thought or planning to our temporal needs, but that we not be pre-occupied with them, in such a way as they cloud or crowd out our faith and loyalty to the one God.  All good things come from God.  Even when we work for what we need, the work comes from God, and our goods come from God.  In the Gospel, the Lord refers to God the Father, because a father cares for and provides for his children.

St. John Chrysostom says that first, we go from the greater to the lesser.  If God has given us the gift of faith and salvation and grace, then will he not provide for our lesser, temporal needs?  Then, in the Gospel, our Lord goes from the lesser to the greater.  The birds of the air, are not we worth more than they?  And yet he provides for all their needs.  Then, if there were still any doubt, he goes to the lilies of the field, which are less than the birds.  Does he not array them in greater splendor than Solomon in all his glory.  So the Lord provides for our needs.  We keep our eyes fixed on Him, for our hopes, our needs, and by His grace and our good efforts, he provides for us.

Soon after the iron curtain fell in Eastern Europe, a bishop there, who had suffered much, gave an interview.  He said something which we all know, but which is good to articulate and to see.  He said that material things are great in anticipation, but small in their ability to fulfill us.  So, if I am getting a new car, there is great anticipation, but, after awhile, a new car is an old car.  It cannot bring us happiness.  But spiritual things are often small in anticipation, but great in their ability to fulfill us.  I remember when I was pastor, getting ready to go on my monthly day of recollection at the monastery in the desert, and thinking, “A free day.  Just think of all the work I could accomplish if I just stayed here.”  That is a temptation, or rather an illusion of mammon.  I would go on my day of recollection, and say, “Thank you, Lord, this is just what I needed.”  We should be aware of that, so that when we are distracted we know where our strength and grace lie, and, with our trust in God, in His kingdom over us, He provides.  All gets done.  He gives us all we need.

So this is the mystery which we reflect on today, how this infinite and eternal God, the one God, the true God, knows each one of us, and all our needs, and looks upon us with love.  And with all our faith and trust and loyalty in Him, He provides for us.