Sunday Sermon 18th Sep 2016 By Fr. Simon Ng’ang’a
1st Reading – Amos 8:4-7
Psalms – 113
2nd Reading – 1 Tim 2:
Gospel – 16: 1-13
God versus mammon
No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.
Hedonic treadmill or hedonic adaptation
– it is the observed tendency of humans to quickly return to a relatively stable level of happiness despite major positive or negative events or life changes.
According to this theory, as a person makes more money, expectations and desires rise in tandem, which results in no permanent gain in happiness. This term was coined by Brickman and Campbell in their essay “hedonic relativism and planning the good society” 1971.
During the late 1990s, the concept was modified by Michael Eysenck, a British psychologist, to become the current “hedonic treadmill theory” which compares the pursuit of happiness to a person on a treadmill, who has to keep walking just to stay in the same place.
Cf. St Augustine – “desire has no rest”, is infinite in itself, endless, and as one calls it, a perpetual rack, or horse-mill.
Money- etymology – monita = to warn
– Greed for money has brought about the downfall of many persons, corruption cases.
You get more, you want more, become more greedy.
Why? God is the absolute owner of everything. We are his, and everything we have is his. We are only stewards.
We leave everything behind when we die, coz it was only to help us at that particular moment we were in the world
Amos condemned those who paid lip service to God on the Sabbath but exploited the poor for the rest of the week.
…..when will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great, and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals, and sell the refuse of the wheat?
– The prophet describes the greed of the merchants and of the rich, the exploitation of the needy, the luxury of the wealthy, the bribing of judges, etc. injustice is flourishing in society.
– These are not foreign to us. They happen in our society even today.
We put high importance on money today. We may put it before honesty, before justice, even before family life. People are brainwashed into believing that owning more is good/ is everything.
Cousin – I can do anything as long as I have money.
Story of a rich man who visited his rabbi.
The rich man was welcomed in the rabbi’s living room. He took him to a window facing the street. The rabbi asked the rich man, what can you see? “People walking about”.
Then the rabbi took him away from the window and placed a large mirror before him. What can you see? “I see myself”, the rich man replied.
The rabbi explained the meaning of the exercise. The window is made of the glass, so does the mirror. However, the glass of the mirror has veneer of silver on it. When you look through plain glass you see people. But when you cover it with silver you stop seeing others and see only yourself. When you are concerned only with money, you stop seeing others and see only yourself.
Mirror and glass
Money may buy the husks of things but it cannot buy the kernel. It brings you food but not appetite; medicine but not health, acquaintances but not friends, servants but not faithfulness, days of pleasure but not peace and happiness. Henrik Ibsen.
– Jesus stresses the impossibility of any compromise between God and mammon.
– The servant had become so unreliable and dishonest. He compromised his integrity.
It probably started off in little ways, but eventually became a way of life. However, inspire of his craftiness, he was eventually found out, and his master confronted him.
– It must have been a humbling and painful moment for the steward. He was about to loose not only his job, but also his reputation. He had brought shame and disgrace on himself and his family.
– Yet, it was a moment of truth and revelation, because it showed him the dishonest reality in which he had been living. It provided him with an opportunity to leave behind illusions and lies. = a turning point in his life.
– When we compromise our integrity, we do not lose our humanity, but we lose our sense of wholeness, our sense of being the same person all the time.
– Jesus commended the dishonest steward for his prudence, “…for the sons of this world are wiser in their own generation than the sons of light”.
NB: Jesus was not holding up the wicked servant as a model. He was saying, children of light can learn something from the children of darkness. – thinking of the future
Evil people are industrious, single minded, prepared to make sacrifices, I order to achieve their evil ends.
We do not get satisfaction or meaning from things. But when we devote ourselves to serving others that, gives us purpose and meaning. Giving to other people is what makes us feel alive. True wealth is not what we keep, but what we give.
For Luke, to use money wisely is to give to the poor and thus ensure eternal salvation.
Money is not evil in itself, becoming a slave of money is. The love of money is the source of all evils.
Erik Erickson – developmental psychology, 7th stage
Middle-aged Adult: 35 to 55 or 65
Generativity vs. Self-absorption or Stagnation – Care
Existential Question: Can I Make My Life Count?
Career and work are the most important things at this stage, along with family. Middle adulthood is also the time when people can take on greater responsibilities and control.
Generativity is the concern of guiding the next generation. Socially-valued work and disciplines are expressions of generativity.
Erikson’s idea of generativity – attempting to produce something that makes a difference to society.
“Generativity, then is primarily the concern in establishing and guiding the next generation… the concept is meant to include… productivity and creativity.”
For this stage, working to establish stability and Inactivity and meaninglessness are common fears during this stage.
In contrast, a person who is self-centered and unable or unwilling to help society move forward develops a feeling of stagnation- a dissatisfaction with the relative lack of productivity.
Major life shifts can occur during this stage. Some may struggle with finding purpose. Significant relationships are those within the family, workplace, local church and other communities.
Since God wants the salvation of everyone, we should pray for everyone, but especially those who bear the responsibility of public office.
Rev. Fr. Simon Ng’ang’a