Black & White Choices
Priests comfort families who have lost the last parent. The death of the last parent, who often has been the glue that held the family together, creates a void that children must work hard to fill in order to maintain a sense of family. The surviving children make heart warming promises to work together to preserve their sense of family.
With this in mind, a tax preparer for a priest preaches a one-note homily regarding money. “Everyone has two personalities, Father. One is the personality we see most of the time. The other personality is seen when the green is on the table.” After the funeral and all the loving promises, the will is finally read, and for too many families the loving promises come to an end.
It was a practice in Jesus’ day to ask respected rabbis to settle disputes, so it is no surprise that someone brought a family dispute over an inheritance for Jesus to arbitrate. Those with Jesus would not have been prepared for Jesus’ refusal to get involved. Jesus was not going to be a part of any dispute involving money. He responded with a parable that should alert us to the heart of Christian life: We live for something other than wealth and possessions. We live for God.
We say that here is no such thing as black and white when struggling with moral issues, preferring to say that there is only gray. When it comes to the most fundamental of life’s choices, there is only black and white. We either live for God or we live for ourselves. Period.
Greed diverts us from finding true meaning in life. For most of us greed is subtle. Money and things are not evil; both are necessary. Jesus tells us to see money and things as mere tools in our lives, not as the point of our lives.
Alongside greed, lying too is greed. We can be very possessive of our image, and most of our lies are either to protect our image or create an image. “Oh the check is in the mail,” we say to cover up our inefficiency. “Oh I tried to call you but your phone was busy,” we say when we forget to return a call. Why do we profess that we want only to be ourselves and then we cover up our mistakes? We are greedy even with our image.
We must choose either what we want or what God wants. There is no gray here. Only one choice gives meaning to our lives.
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