Sunday, August 17, 2008

14th Sunday after Pentecost — God or Mammon

nemo potest duobus dominis servire ... The Gospel for to-day, in the extra-ordinary rite is from the 6th chapter of Matthew:
No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon. Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat, nor for your body, what you shall put on. Is not the life more than the meat: and the body more than the raiment? Behold the birds of the air, for they neither sow, nor do they reap, nor gather into barns: and your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are not you of much more value than they? And which of you by taking thought, can add to his stature by one cubit? And for raiment why are you solicitous? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, that not even Solomon in all his glory was arrayed as one of these. And if the grass of the field, which is to-day, and to-morrow is cast into the oven, God doth so clothe: how much more you, O ye of little faith? Be not solicitous therefore, saying, What shall we eat: or what shall we drink, or wherewith shall we be clothed? For after all these things do the heathens seek. For your Father knoweth that you have need of all these things. Seek ye therefore first the kingdom of God, and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.
Surely, this chapter would disturb a great many, it is a continuation of the Sermon on the Mount, the ethical apex of christian theology, if it was heard or read attentively. Jesus speaks against the hypocrites, and implores us, not to be like them. He then, gives us His prayer, that begins, ‘Our Father’. He also says, “For where thy treasure is, there is thy heart also.” Christ the logician. We make choices. As in Dylan’s song, Youre gonna have to serve somebody. This society is materialistic, and desires material things, and the vehicle of this consumption of riches is capitalism. This country needs to hear jeremiads and invocations against Lord Mammon, but our homilists and would be orators are co-opted or fearful. The United States is a plutocracy, where the highest absolute is profit/lucre/mammon.

The first brasilian bishop to be interrogated by the military was Pedro Casadaliga. When, once, he spoke about his country
’s national debt, he did say, ... debt has already been collected by taking our natural resources and cheap labor. It was collected in our infant mortality, and in the blood, and deaths of our people.” This internationalisation of capitalistic materialism preys on all, for the benefit of few. There is nothing the servants of Mammon will not sacrifice for it, especially, if it comes from someone else.Evelyn Pickering de Morgan. The Worship of Mammon.1909. London.
Notice the wretch, supra, who bows before the knee of Mammon and gazes. Mammon does not meet her eyes, his face we cannot see. Perhaps, one or both are blind. His bag of bounty is outstreched and closed. It is a scene of want in spiritual darkness. The lilies of the field make for a pleasanter consideration.

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