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Thirty-first Week in Ordinary Time

Phil. 4:10-19 & Lk. 16:9-15

The Philippians have generously given Paul a gift for his work. Paul wishes to show that he appreciates their generosity, but at the same time that he is not dependent on such things for contentment. He tells them that he is able to be content in any circumstances, good or bad, because of his relationship with Christ who strengthens him.

Paul knew that the Philippian Christians had gained as much as he had from their generous support of him. Their support of his needs had taught them many valuable lessons - the joy that comes from helping someone in need, the satisfaction of knowing that they had supported a worthy cause, the realisation that they could give to others without depriving themselves of life's necessities, the feeling that they were paying back something for all of the benefits they had received. They would have learnt none of these things if Paul had not welcomed their support of his work. And so, when he wrote them a touching personal letter, he again welcomed their gifts of support even though he was not suffering for need of anything. He knew they needed to give whether or not he needed their help. What Paul found valuable was the interest that was mounting up in their account for the Lord always rewards a generous giver.

In the Gospels Jesus gave much attention to money, presumably because “the love of money” is “the root of all evil” (1 Tim. 6:10). Money can gain such a foothold in our hearts and become the determining factor in many of our decisions. In today's Gospel when Jesus spoke about money the avaricious Pharisees sneered at His message because he had touched a delicate spot.

Money is necessary for living; we cannot live on fresh air. It can enhance our security, our prestige and ability to pursue pleasure, but it does not always bring happiness in our lives. Some people idolize it, others amass it believing that the wealthier they are the happier they will be. But no amount of wealth can satisfy our deepest needs - only God can achieve this.

We all have something more precious than money, and that something is the love and affection we can show each other. One of the marvels of love is that we can do something with it which we cannot do with money. We can give love away - and never suffer any loss of love within ourselves. In fact, the more love and affection we give to others, the more will our own love grow and, in most cases, we will receive love in return.

How true are the words of Jesus, “The man who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great”! One way to interpret this statement is to think in terms of our material and spiritual resources. God wants us to exercise good stewardship over our finances. Wherever we may be on the income scale, He wants us to learn how to live within our means. And since God wants us to be generous, we should look beyond our needs to the needs of others.

God also wants us to be good stewards of our spiritual treasures. Are we making good investments here? The more we pray, the more we will want to pray. The more we take care about what our eyes see, the more we safeguard our purity. The more scripture we read, the more we increase our knowledge of God and how He works.

Lord Jesus, we thank you for our spiritual and material resources and want to use them wisely, as building blocks in loving You and our neighbour more and more.

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