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Friday of the Eleventh Week in Ordinary Time. The reading is from Gospel of Matthew 6:24.

God and Money – Matthew 6:24

No one can serve two masters.

He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other.

You cannot serve God and mammon.

This  verse deals principally with worldly possessions, and the controlling thought is summed up here.

Jesus tells his audience that a person can serve only one master and must choose between God and wealth (mammon). In Luke we read,

  • “I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.” (Luke 16:9)

In Greek,

  • “Καὶ ἐγὼ ὑμῖν λέγω, ἑαυτοῖς ποιήσατε φίλους ἐκ τοῦ μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας, ἵνα ὅταν ἐκλίπῃ δέξωνται ὑμᾶς εἰς τὰς αἰωνίους σκηνάς.” (Lukre 16:9)

Here, the phrase “dishonest wealth” literally μαμωνᾶ τῆς ἀδικίας (mamōna tēs adikias) means “mammon of iniquity” or “money of unrighteousness.”

Mammon is the Greek transliteration of a Hebrew or Aramaic word that is usually explained as meaning “that in which one trusts”, wealth, property or riches. It is used, also, to mean “an idol for the god of riches..”

The account and interpretation Irenaeus gives of the word, is very wide and foreign; who says, that

“Mammon, according to the Jewish way of speaking, which the Samaritans used, is one that is greedy, and would have more than he ought; but, according to the Hebrew language, it is called adjectively Mam, and signifies one that is gluttonous; that is, who cannot refrain himself from gluttony.”

The characterization of this wealth as dishonest expresses a tendency of wealth to lead one to dishonesty. The phrase “eternal dwellings” in Luke 16:9 means “eternal tents,” i.e., heaven.

No man can serve two masters for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Even if the two masters be of one character and have but one object, the servant must take orders from one or the other: though he may do what is agreeable to both, he cannot, in the nature of the thing, be servant to more than one; if we “love the one” then we must of necessity “hate the other”; if we determine resolutely to “hold to the one,” we must at the same time disregard, and even “despise the other.”

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