“No servant can serve two masters.”
Jesus wants our undivided hearts.
He doesn’t give a third alternative. There are only two paths in life, the one that leads closer to Christ, or the one that leads away from him.
A few chapters earlier in St Luke’s Gospel, he put it like this: “He who does not gather with me scatters” (Luke 11:23).
In other words, we cannot be morally neutral in life. We can’t sit on the fence.
Either we live selfishly (this is symbolized by what Christ calls “mammon”, or worldly riches, which enable us to exercise selfish desires), or we live for Christ. If we live selfishly, we actually contribute to the culture of selfishness; we extend the kingdom of money and follow the lord of selfishness – Satan.
If we live for Christ, on the other hand, we help build up his Kingdom of justice and love – the eternal Kingdom. Those who pretend to stay neutral are fooling themselves.
At the same time, Jesus reminds us that we don’t make this choice just once. Every day, in “small matters” and “great ones”, God gives us chances to exercise our love for him, or our love for self.
The Christian life consists in an ongoing series of decisions in which we reinforce or undermine our basic choice to follow Christ. Jesus is warning us that we are just like the steward in the parable. We have all squandered the gifts God has given us, because we have all sinned and been affected by sin.
One way to keep our hearts undivided is to plant little visual reminders in key places. A rosary hanging from the review mirror doesn’t have to be just pretty decoration, it can be a powerful reminder that our little daily decisions and actions are like little beads on the rosary: together they help hold the Kingdom together.
Those of us who have offices can keep a small cross or crucifix on the desk, reminding ourselves that our work, when we do it responsibly and offer it to Christ, can be a channel for God’s grace to spread in the world.
Another thing you can do is take a few minutes every Sunday to come up with a phrase that will remind you of what struck you the most during Mass — maybe a word from the readings, the homily, or something that came to him while he was praying after communion. Then you can use that phrase all week, put it in your screen-saver at work or write it on a note card to use as a bookmark.
It’s a way to keep focused on serving Christ in all your day-to-day activities.
In the old Catholic countries of Europe, you still see what are called “wayside chapels” along the country roads. These are wooden crucifixes or statues of the Blessed Virgin Mary erected under a protective wooden awnings. They were placed at intersections or roadsides as a way to remind travelers of their true destination, and to encourage them to pray as they traveled.
This week, Jesus wants us to experience afresh the meaning that comes from serving him in everything we do.
Let’s erect some wayside chapels in our life to make his dream come true.