Fr Noel's Homilies

Buzzword - Security
We live in times when great store is set on material wealth as a guarantee of security. It is important, however, to remember that material security does not necessarily ensure eternal security. Our ultimate security lies in how we stand before God.

Amos 7:12-15 Amos did not hesitate to leave the material security of his farm to carry out his call to prophesy, even though it entailed being abused and threatened.

Ephesians 1:3-14. St. Paul was well aware of the security people feel in terms of being with their own national groups; however, he encourages them to know that a greater sense of unity, and therefore, security, is to be found in Christ.

Mark 6:7-13: ‚‚ These instructions by Christ to his disciples were given to match a particular need in another time and another place and cannot be interpreted literally in today's conditions. However, the underlying theme remains relevant - In God we trust.

Point 1: Regularly, whilst preparing his disciples to be apostles, Christ emphasised that they should not be completely dominated by thoughts of material power and possessions. He taught them to be prepared to be servants -the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, [Mat 20:28] ; he warned them of the dangers associated with wealth-, "they are choked by the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and their fruit does not mature". (Luke 8:14). It would be wrong to conclude from these, and other passages, that Christianity condemns material possessions out of hand;‚‚  all that is argued is that the inordinate pursuit of such possessions can lead people to adopt false standards of trust and confidence.

Point 2: Catholic Christianity is not puritanical; we do not believe that material possessions are wrong. One can, and should, have ambitions to do well in life, to own a fine house, to have televisions, stereos, pleasure boats and cars and all those splendid things that human ingenuity, using God-given talents, is able to produce, and we are able to afford. Such ambitions only become wrong when they dominate us and expose us to the danger of dishonesty and injustice as we seek ownership. There is, also, the danger that a person sees in his wealth and power a beguiling sense of total security - Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' [Luke 12:16]

Conclusion: For the Christian, trust and confidence ultimately projects to eternity and our standing before God. This does not mean that we do not use common sense in making wise decisions for our daily needs. We have, however, a relatively short time on earth to fulfil our mission. That mission is to live our lives in such a way that others may learn from us the joy, the trust and the confidence that our Christian faith gives to us - a mission carried out in such a way that it will earn for us the ultimate commendation -"Well done, good and faithful servant".

It is worth asking ourselves, from time to time, do we give too much emphasis to what money and power can achieve? Are we inclined to peddle power and influence? Are we so different from those who believe that by knowing the right people and having the right price, we can secure ourselves? Such thinking neglects a fundamental truth - that one can buy a respectable place in society or the church, but heaven cannot be bought. It can only be earned. And it remains true that, despite our power and influence, death will come and after that the judgement. That is why we should not allow our quest for material security to blunt our sense of commitment to God and neighbour.

Scriptural reference: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. [Luke 12:34]