Welcome to the Cathedral Church of Saints Peter & Paul, Clifton.

 

Sunday 22nd September 2019
Twenty-Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Amos 8: 4-7     1 Timothy 2: 1-8     Luke 16: 1-13

A Wealth of Love.

Money can’t buy you love – so the song says. It certainly can’t buy you happiness and it can often end up ruining your life. Money confers richness but not genuine wealth. A wealthy person is not someone with a large bank account. A wealthy person is someone who has few needs, who is satisfied.

Why do we need money anyway? What would happen if a brain surgeon’s sixty minutes of work were valued at exactly the same rate as a gardener’s, a shopkeeper’s or a teacher’s? Would it mean that everyone’s sweat would buy the same amount of food? Would it equalise society and stop some people from amassing such wealth that they exploited others? Perhaps. Perhaps not.

What is clear is that the more money we have, the more we seem to want. It’s not so much the money itself as the avarice that appears to come with it. Only a few people seem to become more generous when they attain richness. But perhaps more dismaying is that money appears to fool us into thinking that we are self-reliant. In fact we speak in deferential tones of someone who is a ‘self-made’ millionaire.

Of course it’s only a very short step from feeling self-reliant to feeling that we have no need of God. We become bound up in what passes for wealth and then we lose sight of what real wealth is. Our preoccupation with money, with stocks and shares, with gains and losses means that we can end up turning money into a god. We respect people who earn a lot of money and we even make them role models for our children. To be rich is to be successful…

Well, it certainly is to be successful at the altar of Mammon. But the altar of God offers us a wealth that no coin can buy: the wealth of honesty, sincerity, fidelity, support, forgiveness, care, family, friends, hope, laughter, joy, faith, happiness… the wealth of being loved. These are all gifts which are devalued upon the altar of Mammon. Yes, money can’t buy you love. And as another song says: Richer than gold is the love of my Lord, better than splendour and wealth.

 

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Scripture Reflections (below) © Peter J Harrison 2019

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