Prepare for Sunday Mass: Serving something other than God?

Each week in OSV Newsweekly, Carl Olson provides a thoughtful, relevant reflection on the Mass readings for Sunday in his "Opening the Word" column. The following is just an excerpt, but you can read the entire column here.

From Carl Olson:

The most succinct commentary on today’s Gospel can be found just a few verses earlier in Matthew 6: “For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be” (Mt 6:21). In fact, that verse is part of a notable transition in the Sermon on the Mount, from a focus on man’s relationship with God, which reaches an apex in Christ’s teaching about prayer (Mt 6:5-15), to a focus on man’s relationship with the world. This, in turn, is followed in Matthew 7 by teachings about our relationships with other people, summarized in many ways by the Golden Rule (7:12).

However, these passages are not neatly categorized or segmented; for our relationships with God, the world and other people are deeply interconnected, even if they can be distinguished from one another. How we understand ourselves and God will direct how we understand the world, and the meaning of our lives will shape how we act toward family, friends and others. The foundation is our relationship with God, and upon that is built our metaphysics and morality, which in turn mold our public lives, including our approach to politics. Alas, we are often told the complete opposite: politics first, which guide our actions and perspectives, with our beliefs about God shut up in the privacy of home and church.

Archbishop Fulton Sheen summarized this dynamic many years ago. “Those who deny the immortality of the soul almost always substitute for it the immortality of the means of subsistence,” he wrote. Those who live as if this world is all that exists and matters are the followers of mammon. We must keep in mind that mammon is not money, per se, but the personification of riches — the idolization of things. Mammon is the god of having, acquiring and hoarding. Jesus did not teach that money or material things are bad, but that they must, in every way, be kept in their rightful place and used for their proper ends.

Read Olson's entire column to prepare for Sunday Mass.

Jennifer Rey is the web editor of Our Sunday Visitor Publishing.