Amos 8:4-7; Psalm 113:1-2, 4-6, 7-8 (R/. cf. 1a, 7b); 1 Timothy 2:1-8; cf. 2 Corinthians 8:9; Luke 16:1-13 or 16:10-13
The bottom line is clear, “You cannot serve both God and mammon.” Mammon is an Aramaic word meaning property, money, or possessions. Fr. John Haughey, SJ, has written about “mammon sickness” in his book The Holy Use of Money, describing three of its symptoms: running after things, numbness in our relationships, and a divided consciousness in our relationship with God. Today’s readings invite us to take our spiritual temperature to see if we are suffering from this sickness.
Dishonest business practices are the target of Amos’s wrath. The prophet connects the pursuit of wealth with both the diminishment of genuine worship of God and with trampling on the rights of the needy and the poor. Such are the results of “mammon sickness,” when God’s love and concern for the poor do not take flesh through us.
Rather than condemning the shady practices of a steward, Jesus seems to admire them. But a closer reading shows that what he admires is the initiative and shrewdness taken by this son of darkness, using money to make friends. Children of the light should use money to make friends with the needy, thereby giving God glory.
How can mammon/money/possessions be sacramental, mediating God’s love?