Today my dear brethren in Christ, we were given a very strong message by our Lord Jesus Christ.  “No man can serve two masters; Ye cannot serve God and mammon”. Before we explain the meanings of those particular verses, let us take you back to the beginning of today’s Gospel. “The light of the body is the eye: if therefore thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be full of light. But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!” The important message here, is not regarding physical eyes, or bodies, nor is it talking of light our eyes can see. The meaning here, is regarding the purity of one’s soul and their heart’s intentions. Our Saviour is telling us that, if we strive to become righteous, and desire to see everything and everyone with a pure heart, then our souls will be filled with inner light, we will be filled with the light of Christ, the light which shines radiantly amongst all men, which then navigates them to Christ Himself. On the other hand, if our eye be evil, meaning if we desire evil things, and view things with an unclean heart, then our soul will be darkened, Satan will have authority over us and we shall become evil in our ways.  Jesus then said: No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.” Why does Christ say to us so decisively that no man can possibly serve two masters? Well, imagine you were a servant with two masters, and you were given certain responsibilities by both masters to uphold, each in different palaces of course, trying to please them both at the same time. Could it ever work? Most likely you would make a mess out of both situations. This is why Christ says: “for you must hate the one, and love the other”, because, one “cannot serve God and mammon”. These are two masters which Christ mentions here. One must ask, who or what mammon is? The word Mammon comes from the Syriac language, which basically means riches, treasures, it means the worship of money, the deification of money. Throughout history, but more so today, mammon has been made into a god by man. The world and its inhabitants are driven by money and power, from the most powerful to the poorest of people living in the streets, money is regarded by most people, the most important thing in life. For the rich, there can never be enough money, to the poor; money is seen as their solution and salvation. Money has so much power, it arouses the most powerful of people to continually make more and more of it, even though they have no need of it, and often they will make more money at the expense of poor helpless people. We know many examples of multibillionaire corporations, which take advantage of poor people, even underage children who do their cheap labour, as the companies make massive profits. Money often arouses sins such as, prostitution, murder, theft, lying, becoming greedy and corrupt, and for this reason He said earlier: “But if thine eye be evil, thy whole body shall be full of darkness. If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness!”  

The darkness my dear Christians, becomes so great, because money has even enough power, to make poor people become greedy, even though physically they have no money. In their hearts, they put all their hope not in God, but in money. For money, Judas betrayed Christ, taking thirty pieces of silver for the price of the Priceless One. Then of course, there is the Prodigal Son, who demanded his money and his inheritance, from his father, so that he might be free to enjoy his life. For money, people today sell their souls to Satan. Christians lie, deceive; they strive to become rich and powerful. Many Christians out of their own accord will even open their businesses on Sundays, because they see Sunday as a day of profit. It must be said however, that, this is one of the greatest among all sins. The profit which is made on Sunday is cursed, it is never blessed, and Christians who work without a conscience on a Sunday, will never be blessed by Christ, unless, it is necessary for them to work because their employer obliges them to do so.

An interesting question to me has always been the following. Out of the following two people I will mention, who would be regarded as the real thief? In the first case, a homeless man, who stole some food, so that he may eat? Or the man, who is wealthy, yet refuses to give money to the poor person who knocked on his door? The man who stole was desperate, he was so hungry and out of sheer desperation, he stole some bread from a store. He certainly did commit a sin, because he gave into temptation however, he acted out of desperation.  The other man, is wealthy, he has plenty, he abides by all the civil laws, however, he has built his wealth using his greed and desire to become wealthy. A beggar comes to his door, but he resents him saying: “you should go find a job”, rather than giving him a small contribution. The rich man thinks that, it is he who is behind his own success; he doesn’t realize that in a blink of an eye, his health could diminish, causing him to be unfit for work, leaving him not only without an income, but with health expenses and debts to pay. Unfortunately, many people are like this man, who take everything for granted and care only for themselves, these are the people who are the real thieves.

There is an old story about a king who had a greedy servant. He, wanted to see the extent of his servant’s greed, and so, he did the following. The king took his servant, to a vast plain and said to him: “Do you see all this land? I shall give you as much of it as you can run across from dawn to sunset.” The greedy man gladly accepted the offer. When the sun rose, he ran like a mad man with all his might. As the sun began to set, the greedy man was overwhelmed and over exhausted, and really should have stopped, but his greed would not let him. For him, just knowing that there was more land to be gained made him uneasy because he desired more. However, before he could meet up with the king again, he dropped dead from anxiety and over exhaustion, dying, he took nothing with him into the next life but his greed. The sad truth is that many people today are like that greedy servant. They prefer to overwork themselves to gain more and more riches, rather than put their trust in God.  This brings us to the next verses of today’s Gospel:

“Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.” Do not worry your selves about what you will eat and what you will drink and how you will clothe yourself, says the Lord; He is telling us not to concern ourselves about the worldly things which we need, because your Heavenly Father will provide for you, just as He provides for the birds of the air who neither sow, nor reap, nor gather food into barns; Look, Christ says; at how the grass is clothed with lilies, which today exists and tomorrow is cast into the fire, how much more then for us will God provide, Who knows everything and all our needs. Our Saviour tells us clearly, that we must seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you, in other words, we must all seek our salvation and look to doing His will in our lives, and He will take care of all our needs.

 My dear Christians, let us all focus on building our faith and love in Christ, “therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom 5:1), as we heard from the Holy Apostle Paul in his epistle to the Romans. He went on to say: And not only so, but we should prosper and be glad during our tribulations, during our problems in other words; knowing that with tribulations we will gain patience; and patience, will give us experience and; and with experience we will truly hope in God’s power and great providence, and certainly not in mammon and luck. We must all become aware of our spiritual status, we must discover ourselves, and we must ask ourselves, if we are truly living up to the name Christian. Through the intercessions of the Holy Apostles Bartholomew and Barnabas, may Christ our God have mercy and save us. Amen.

Hieromonk Sozómenos
Saints Constantine & Helen Parish and
Holy Chapel of Saint Nektarios

Birmingham, UK. - 2012 a.d.

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