They will welcome you into the tents of eternity


They will welcome you into the tents of eternity

In Amos’ time about 670 B.C., there was an era of great social and economic prosperity.  The elite swindled and exploited the poor, and imposed impossible debts on the them. So, Amos denounces the unscrupulous merchants for their false piety, their avarice, their dishonest practices and their exploitation of the poor. It is very easy for us to be split-brained people thinking about religion at Sunday worship and then eager to get back to our routine business as soon as possible. If so, then we too inherit Amos’ and Jesus’ warning: “You cannot serve God and wealth.” One or the other has to be the master and take precedence in our lives.

Today’s Gospel is not about moral advice. Rather, it tells us how to live now in the hope of eternity. It is meant to engage us and make us see that the Gospel is about a life-and-death decision, the most important we shall ever make. Jesus asks his followers to take more interest in their future than the steward of his parable took in his own. The steward in the parable ensures his own future by doing favours to others, but does this by cheating his master. And Jesus commends him, not for his dishonesty, but for taking an interest in the future. The steward is able to look ahead and see that after he is fired for his incompetence, he will have little prospect of getting another job. Basically, he foresees his future and thus provides for it. If our best future lies in heaven, then we all must take an active interest in our future.

But when should our interest in the future begin? When we become old and sickly? Absolutely not, our future begins now. Our future is purchased by our present. In today, we already see tomorrow. The prophet Amos looked at the future of his people and began denouncing and protesting against the values of his present generation.  Amos believed that unless his people took drastic steps or action against these false practices, there was no future security for them. Yes, our eternal destiny is a future gift but it is also a present reality. We should never forget that the only way we can predict our future is to use and exercise our power in the present time in order to shape that future.

But how can we shape our future now, in the present?  Jesus gives us some guidance regarding how we should shape our future. We are warned not to amass wealth and money. Most of our experience will tell us that money comes and goes. Jesus is suggesting to us that we use our money wisely. One way of using our money wisely is to give to the poor. In fact, those who receive our money become friends now and in heaven.

The second guideline that Jesus makes on how to shape our future is the one who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great. (Lk16:10). By doing little things well, we can make our life great, as the responsible use of little things on this earth will determine our reward in heaven. Similarly, when we neglect little deeds of kindness, little words of love or little words of forgiveness, we are also neglecting our duty to shape our future which is a kingdom of love, unity and peace.

As Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta put it, we can’t all do great things, but we can all do small things with great love. Our vocation here on earth, and our best way of assuring our future in heaven, as well as living in the kingdom of God here and now, is to live those words – to do all things with great love. Or as Sir Winston Churchill said, “We make a living by what we get; we make a life by what we give away.”

By Susai Jesu, OMI
Vocation Team – West