To serve God is to be truly free

God invites us to depend on him, to learn his ways and to follow his precepts, but he does not force us to do so.

Sep 23, 2022

Reflecting on our Sunday readings with Father Andrew Kooi

26th Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)
Readings: Amos 6:1, 4-7;
1 Timothy 6:11-16;
Gospel: Luke 16:19-31

Are you a slave? Or are you really free? Some of you may be thinking, “This padre has gone mad. Of course, I’m free! How could I be a slave? Is this padre trying to be funny with me? But unfortunately, the reality is that many people become slaves to one thing or another.

We become trapped or dependent on the thing we want to free ourselves from. How can this be so? After all, we are free to do many things in this world, so how can we be enslaved even if we think we are free or appear to be free?

God invites us to depend on him, to learn his ways and to follow his precepts, but he does not force us to do so. To be his servant, to place all our trust and faith in him, we must do so freely, without constraint. But when we begin to place our trust in things or people other than God, we soon find ourselves losing our freedom and ending up as slaves to those things.

We become slaves to these false gods. They begin to take control of our lives and deprive us of our freedom.

Take, for example, money and wealth. We have to make a living and we need money to survive and function in this world, but when we start making money, some of us may start craving more and more of it, to the point where we let’s put all our efforts into making money out of it. We begin to neglect or pay less attention to other things, including our health, our relationships with friends and family, and even our relationship with God. When this happens, aren’t we slaves or slaves to money and wealth? Haven’t money and wealth become for us like a false god?

In addition to this, some may be addicted to substances such as alcohol and drugs, or undesirable habits such as gambling or pornography. When we allow ourselves to be controlled by such substances or habits, aren’t we slaves to those things or habits? Haven’t these things or habits become to us like false gods?

Some of us may be addicted to our gadgets or gizmos such as cell phones, video games or tablets. We become so dependent on them that without them we become restless and unable to concentrate, especially when we are at mass. Instead of paying attention to what is going on at mass, we are more attentive to hearing the “ping” of the mobile or some other similar sounds coming from our gadgets or gadgets, and our fingers become irritating to reach for it, to take a look. When we allow ourselves to be controlled by such gimmicks or gimmicks, aren’t we slaves to them? Haven’t these gadgets or gadgets become for us like false gods?

This is why in today’s Gospel we are reminded that we cannot serve God and false gods at the same time. To serve God is to be truly free, while to serve false gods is to lose that freedom. We cannot be free and unfree at the same time. We must never forget that we were created to know, love and serve God.

The lures of life can lead us away from life as sons and daughters of God, and slowly rob us of our inner freedom and we become slaves to it; we become dependent, attached and dependent on them, so much so that they become our false gods.

When we allow this to happen, when we immerse ourselves in the ways of the world and the attractions of life, then we can break the first commandment: “I am the Lord your God.” You will have no foreign gods before me.

Today let us pray for the strength to truly know, love and serve God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength. Today’s second reading reminds us: “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, himself a man, Christ Jesus , who sacrificed himself as a ransom for them all.

Let us always remember that we cannot serve two masters and strive to reject all our false gods and place our trust in God. Do not allow ourselves to be enslaved by other things, people or habits, as this could enslave us and prevent us from drawing closer to God or even losing our relationship with God altogether.

Let us depend on our God and regain our freedom to become his sons and daughters.

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