We cannot serve God and money the gospel warns us. Greed and worldliness can take us over and become a false and useless gods, leading us to soul destruction forever. Conscious of this, lets confess any ways we may have let greed take over our lives…
A scene in Graham Green’s The Power And The Glory reminds me of our gospel. The Book is set during the communist revolution in Mexico when regime opponents were hunted down and killed. You know the famous photo taken at the time, of priests hanging from lamp posts. Finally only a whiskey priest remains. They lure him to his death by saying a dying person needs confession. As they execute him the commandant says: “we’ll finish God and create a perfect secular Marxist state”. The priest says, “ah but you forget about sin”. As the communist kills the priest, a boy who is watching spits on his revolver.
Events in various states since remind me of that commandant – Stalin killing 40 million Russians while closing down churches, Moe Tse Tung’s hordes eating the bodies of up to 10 million monks and intellectuals. Pol Pot wiping out one third of the Cambodian population. Ghadaffi’s little green book, Assad’s Bathe party in Syria, Kim in North Korea building nuclear bombs while the people are starving. That’s the history of one part of our age, endless secular totalitarianism. Godless systems on the same destructive model: the one party state, the secret police, the great leader, the little book of self-saving teaching; if the awful things they did prove anything its that we need God, we can’t save ourselves.
And this relates to our Gospel. In our era, billions perished in such secular service. Even Hitler’s National Socialism produced the mandatory little book, Mein Kampt, the bible of a purely materialistic heaven. His ideology was based on Neitzsche’s view that we must kill God and set up secular states that pursue power beyond any divine morality. Power was to be exercised without pity or higher values, to produce a perfect Aryan utopia. It produced hell. Yet what of the effort to secularize Ireland now? God help us. Do what you like and feel no remorse is the philosophy of much of modern life on this model. We’ve learned nothing from history. Nor is western capitalist secularism and libertine morality any better. Now we take from old-age pensioners to give to rich bondholders.
Yet stirring of Postmodernism is beginning to say that we need a better way. Recent visions of our Lady have hinted that though this was the age of Satan, its beginning to change, the whole arrogant human Tower of Babel is beginning to fall. We’re beginning to realize that we cant save ourselves, that putting aside God and his commandments means back to the beast, a totally ruthless inhuman world of which Satan is lord. Yet we in Ireland seem to be jumping on that bandwagon long after the band has left. But history shows that’s a dead end, as the Pope pointed out when he attacked a new militant agnosticism in Britain.
History shows such systems put ideology before human life, selling out our earthly and higher spiritual value, meaning and dignity. The slaughter in abortion clinics or Assad’s chemical gassing of people still remind us of this. I think that’s what Christ warns us about in today’s gospel, you cannot serve God and materialism. The world isn’t enough; knowing we can’t save ourselves, Christ had to come. He knew false worldly gods fade to ashes at last leaving us wrecked in body and soul. So He brought us love, goodness, peace, and salvation for our deeper happiness in this world and forever and ever, amen.
So as God’s own working to heal a broken world that can only be redeemed by God’s love in Christ, lets profess our faith..
Prayers of the faithful
And as the people of God, putting our trust in his all-holy Christ, we pray for the things we need..
For the church throughout the world, may it lead all from worship of false materialistic gods into the saving light of Christ..
For civic leaders; may they not be so caught up in the gods of economics and secular ideology as to stifle people’s welfare in body and soul; their way to real happiness, peace and salvation..
For our great youth that they may find the way to true happiness and hope for the world in God and in his all-holy Christ..
For ourselves that we may not be so caught up in getting and spending money as to neglect the deeper road to real happiness, peace, truth and saving grace in Christ and his church..
For the lonely, the aged, the sick and the oppressed that they may find in God and our Christian care and love the comfort and hope and love that they need more even than life..
For the dead, who carry nothing of this world into the grave where all are equal, that through our prayers they may come to their larger and more enduring heavenly riches…
And we ask all these our prayers through Christ the only lord of life here below and real salvation forever and ever amen..
The Faust story illustrates the Gospel. He rejected God, and sold his soul to the devil for 24 years of pleasure, wealth and power. But he soon saw that this didn’t satisfy him. Years flew by and he realized that he’s made a very poor bargain. He had sold his soul for useless passing things. And as Satan approaches to take his soul, its too late to change. Lets not fall into the trap of becoming slaves to the world’s passing gods…Hail Mary