Christian Idea of Health

Naaman the Syrian leper came looking for healing, for some kind of Fountain of Youth, to cleanse his corrupted flesh. The prophet Elisha healed him.  And the Lord Jesus healed the ten lepers who begged for His pity. They, too, had sought the “Fountain of Youth,” a way back to the perfect health of the Garden of Eden. [Spanish]

Christ came to heal.  He wills our health. God wills our true health, the health that consists in soundness of soul, as well as soundness of body.

We modern Americans obsess about our health. We, too, seek the Fountain of Youth. We chase it desperately, frantically. We live in abject fear of old age, pain, and death.

jp_iiBut do we really even understand what the word “health” means? Pope St. John Paul II put it like this:  “If we consider life as a mere consumer good, we reach a sort of cult of the body and a hedonistic quest for physical fitness.”

We human beings strive, with all our intelligence and scientific skill, to combat sickness and the suffering that goes with it.  Many people dedicate their lives to healthcare.  I daresay quite a few people reading this have given their lives to the work of healthcare.

But Jesus Christ alone teaches us what health really is. Jesus Christ is Himself the source of life and the Healer of the human race. His Body and Blood are the greatest and most important of all medicines. The Blessed Sacrament of the altar is the medicine of immortality.

Let’s consider Jesus Christ’s “health.” It begins with His interior communion with the will of the Father. Jesus declared that His life comes from the Father.  So: true health begins with this fundamental fact of our existence. We receive ourselves as a gift. From God. Almighty God gives us our life. If I imagine that health = total control of myself, my body, my powers, according to my will—well, then I have actually begun to understand health in a very unhealthy way.

Now, Lord Jesus lived a wholesome life, exercised temperance and self-control, worked steadily, kept His mind elevated, cultivated good friendships, knew how to relax. Like all His Jewish contemporaries, Jesus never “went to the gym.” For good reason. The ancient Greeks invented gyms, so the ancient Jews hated them. But our Lord nonetheless did the strenuous exercise we associate with a ‘fitness regimen.’ We can reasonably estimate that He walked an average of 20-25 miles per week through the course of His pilgrim life.

So: Jesus ‘stayed fit.’ He ate right and had a ‘healthy lifestyle’ for most of His time on earth. But there’s more: the God-man ultimately embraced human pain, suffering, and death. In fact, He became man for that precise reason: to suffer and die.

Rod of AsclepiusWhen we base our concept of health on Jesus Christ, a whole new horizon opens up for us.  We perceive that bodily suffering is not the absolute evil. And bodily suffering is not meaningless or a waste. Again, Pope St. John Paul II:

In celebrating the Eucharist, Christians proclaim and share in the sacrifice of Christ, for ‘by His wounds, we have been healed.’ Christians, uniting themselves with Christ, preserve in their own sufferings a very special particle of the infinite treasure of the world’s redemption, and can share that treasure with others. Imitating Jesus has led saints and simple believers to turn their illnesses and pain into a source of purification and salvation.

Modern medical science has benefited the human race enormously. But science cannot by itself explain the fundamental reason why sickness exists. Medicine can succeed in curing particular illnesses by accurately diagnosing them.  But if the question is: Why do we human beings get sick at all? “Germs” is not the whole answer.

We get sick, and we die, because of the Fall. In the beginning, we fell away from God and lost His grace, which is our true health. We walked away from the Fountain of Youth. Doesn’t mean that any particular individual illness of any particular individual person comes as a punishment for particular sins. No. What it means is: In the beginning, God offered us, the human race, paradise and immortality. But we refused the gift, out of pride.

We disobeyed because Satan tempted us. But God knows better than Satan. The sickness and suffering that we experience because of Original Sin can involve agonizing deprivations. But, on the cross, the Lord turned all those agonizing deprivations into the doorway back to paradise.

Ghent Altarpiece Adoration of the Lamb

“Amen, amen, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.” Lord Jesus said those words to the sinner who begged for Christ’s mercy–even as they both suffered together on their crosses. “You will be with me in paradise.” The suffering Christ speaks these words to the suffering sinner.

We cannot base our idea of “health” on anything other than our hope for that paradise that Jesus promised us at that moment. The paradise of true and complete communion with God. The paradise of an everlasting Eden. Our idea of health must embrace the cross of the Christ Who suffered. Because His Cross is the only way that truly leads to the Fountain of Youth.

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Catechism #2764

Lord Jesus taught us how to live and how to pray. By our opening ourselves up to both of these areas of teaching, the Holy Spirit reforms our interior life, our desires, the deepest inner movements that orient our entire lives. As the Catechism puts it: “The rightness of our life in Christ will depend on the rightness of our prayer.”

Catechism-of-the-Catholic-CHurchIn other words, the Our Father teaches us what to want.

That God be glorified and His name honored. That His kingdom come and His will be done. That He sustain us with what we need today. That He forgive us and help us forgive others. That He save us from the worst moral challenges, which could cost us our souls, since we do not have the strength to resist the devil without God’s help.

We want to survive today, physically and spiritually, so that we can glorify God by serving as vessels of His infinite, loving mercy. By tomorrow this ordeal could end; that’s up to Him. May He give us the grace to glorify Him worthily today.

Paul Simon Way Ahead on the Amazon

As we read at Holy Mass today: The Lord sent the prophet Jonah to the non-Jewish Ninevites. And the Lord sent a non-Jewish Samaritan to help the robbers’ victim, in the parable. This Sunday we will read about the ten lepers Jesus cured. The only one who came back to say thank you? A Samaritan. A foreigner.

The Lord founded a cosmopolitan Church. Not like the magazine Cosmopolitan. But in the sense that true religion resonates with people of all languages and races. The Lord sent the Apostles to all nations.

Rosary Prayers

For most of us, the Amazon basin counts as “foreign land.” Anyone ever visited?

It became a little less foreign for us Paul-Simon fans back in 1990. He followed up his album Graceland with an encore, involving Brazilian musicians. I wore out my cassette tape of Rhythm of the Saints, by listening to it like a thousand times. The song “Born at the Right Time” can still bring tears to my eyes.

Paul Simon was twenty-nine years ahead of the Vatican. Everyone heard of the “Amazon Synod” in Rome? I, for one, long ago lost track of what exactly the point of all these Roman synods is.

Anyway: the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the grace of His mysteries, belongs to everyone, of every language and nation. Our Lady’s Rosary has “delivered” the Gospel, and the grace of Christ’s mysteries, to souls seeking God, all over the world, for centuries.

You can’t go wrong, listening to some Paul Simon every once in a while, to cheer yourself up. And we definitely can’t go wrong, praying the Rosary daily.

Hobbits, Small and Big

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Lord, increase our faith! (Luke 17:5) [Spanish]

The Christian faith defies definition. Our faith is something mysterious, since it involves: our finite minds somehow touching, somehow knowing the infinite God. Holding the Christian faith means receiving a gift from heaven. And co-operating with it, mentally.

We express our faith in the… Creed. We believe in God Almighty, Creator of all, Lord and Giver of life. We believe that He made everything out of nothing.

Why does earth orbit the sun–the third planet out, in this particular little solar system–with Venus our neighbor inward, and Mars one planet out? Because of physics and gravity? Well, yes…except then you have to ask: Why then is there a sun and an earth and a Venus and a Mars, and physics and gravity? Because of the Big Bang? Maybe. But if there was a Big Bang, then you have to ask: Why then was there a Big Bang? Our faith gives us a certain answer: Because God wills.

The infinite Power has an infinite Will, which wills that the universe exist, and that we exist, exactly as things stand, right now. If He willed otherwise, things would be otherwise.

Let’s ask ourselves this: Is our faith in this infinite, omnipotent God a comfort to us? Or is it terrifying?

Maybe it’s a comfort?  God governs everything with His inexorable power. So we can let go of our delusions of grandeur. We can accept that, in the great sway of the divine government, we are very small. Like little hobbits occupying an obscure corner of the cosmos, living on earth for a brief moment in the grand scheme of years. Our little pilgrim lives will pass away as swiftly as they came.

God is big. We are small. God can move mulberry trees at will; we are small enough to fit under a mulberry tree. So we can shed our Messiah complexes and enjoy our dinners in peace. May God’s will be done. Knowing the future is above my pay-grade.

But wait: This is a little terrifying, too—the greatness of God, and the littleness of us carbon life forms on the third rock from the sun. I mean: Do we matter? We believe in the awesome infinite God, Who has laid out the heavens and the stars. We ourselves huddle here like so many little specks of life on a little planet. Do we matter?  Our smallness can just about overwhelm us.

Let’s go back to our original question. What is the faith that we pray the Lord will increase in us? The holy Catholic faith. Which believes in God Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, of all things, the visible and the invisible. And our faith also believes in–part two of the Creed–Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord.

Do we matter? Well, the infinite God, Who cracks mulberry trees in half at will, by thunderbolts and hurricane winds—He made Himself one of us. He became incarnate and walked the earth.

And we have to seek precision here. God did not ‘incarnate’ Himself in the form of some fleeting vision. He didn’t even just send an angel. The holy Incarnation has no ephemeral aspects. He took our human nature to Himself in such a way that He Personally became one of these little semi-hairy creatures, who take up a tiny patch of territory on this little, remote planet, for a fleeting period of time, punctuated by daily dinners.

elanorgamgeeGod is a man. From the first Annunciation Day forward, He always will be a man. And that is His most awesomely powerful act of all. He saves us sinners and gives us eternal life. He makes us His intimate friends, His kith and kin: the eternal Son’s brothers and sisters, the eternal Father’s beloved children. For God to become man, while remaining pure God—that involves the kind of omnipotence that makes thunderstorms and hurricanes look like so many little splashings in a bird bath, by comparison.

After all, the universe really only appears to dwarf us human beings with its vastness. Yes: we get tired just walking from one end of a Walmart to another. But, in fact, every single individual human soul extends to a greater space than the entire universe of stars and planets, supernovas and galaxies. We can conceive and envision and number all the elements of the universe. The very huge cosmos, in which we find ourselves so small—this universe is, in fact, something of which we can conceive, something about which we can have a clear idea, as we gaze at the night sky. Which means that our minds are bigger than it is. Not in feet and inches. But in total spiritual comprehension. Each of our minds is bigger than the entire universe.

God did not unite Himself Personally with a supernova, or even with the Milky Way galaxy. He united Himself with us little goofballs right here. To give us His eternal friendship. That He did that is more awesome than anything.

We pray that our faith in that unfathomable mystery, the mystery of the eternal Son of the eternal Father becoming man–we pray that our faith in that awesome mystery will always increase.

Saint Francis, Parish-Church Patron

stfrancis

Today we keep the anniversary of our parish patron’s death, as a Memorial. Over the weekend, we will keep it as a Solemnity, as is our prerogative to do.

As we celebrate Holy Mass to honor Saint Francis, we sing about how God has used the saints to call mankind back to our original holiness, to the innocence of the garden, before the Fall. Saint Francis’ totally Christ-like life has rescued generations of human souls from cynicism, from hopelessness, from self-centered self-destruction.

My dear mom is visiting the parish today, along with my tall and handsome brother. My mom and I have had the chance to visit Assisi. Twice. By the grace of God, many of us have been there. A trip to Assisi offers an antidote for cynicism and hopelessness, all by itself—just being there makes you feel like you’re breathing the air of the Garden of Eden.

basilicastfrancis

We have the first pope who ever presumed to take Saint Francis’ name. And Pope Francis presides over a Catholic Church so grievously misgoverned that there’s hardly any earthly hope for Her survival.

But Saint Francis lived in such times, too. Granted, the prelates of his age weren’t quite as worldly and corrupt as the ones we have now. Nor were the popes of the first part of the thirteenth century quite as ineffectual as the first two popes of the twenty-first century have been. We have in common with Saint Francis that one of the popes during his lifetime wanted to resign. But, in the case of Celestine III, the Cardinals wouldn’t let him quit.

Anyway, my point is: Saint Francis had to soldier on in pure faith. Even while the upper leadership had more interest in worldly power than in shepherding souls. Saint Francis had to keep believing in Jesus, and living in union with Him, through all that.

We do, too, of course. With St. Francis’ help, we can do it.

Not to be Alarmist, But We Need to Pray Hard

crater battle postcard

Humble yourself like a child. Look around you for good people, not partisan allies. When we serve Christ, everyone striving for honesty and goodness is an ally. (summary of today’s gospel reading at Holy Mass)

One of the things I have studied in some depth is: 19th-century American life. In the last part of the eighteenth century, all of the thirteen colonies ultimately managed to agree on a structure for a federalized republic of states, each with its own proper internal laws and governments. But as the decades of the nineteenth century wore on, it became increasingly difficult for northerners and southerners to communicate in any kind of constructive manner.

They did not have alternative cable-news channels. But they did have alternative versions of what each side saw as evident facts. And the two sides had different absolute loyalties, to two different cadres of political leaders. The different groups of leaders ultimately accused each other of the kind of treachery that only war can settle.

I don’t mean to be alarmist. But it occurred to me this morning that I may get shot.

I have been a zealous pro-life priest since the day I was ordained, and I was a zealous pro-life seminarian for years before that. During the 2016 campaign, I made no secret of the fact that I thought Hillary Clinton was a fundamentally dishonest politician who rose to prominence solely because of her long-time insider connections. In other words, she became a presidential nominee through pure cronyism, not by some feminist triumph.

But, also back in 2016, I made no secret of the fact that I agreed with Armando Fuentes Aguirre. He wrote in a Mexico-City newspaper that Donald Trump’s nomination for president of the USA was something for which the human race ought to feel ashamed.

I know perfectly well that there are semi-rational individuals who have, can, and will frequent our parish buildings, who already have in their minds justifications for doing me violence.

We Catholics have a head start in understanding the danger that we face as a nation right now. The reality of a President Donald Trump has divided our Catholic parishes and dioceses in ways that most of us never could have imagined six years ago. Both our parishes here were growing bilingual families, in the process of building up trust and friendship—back in 2015. But in 2016 a dark cloud of distrust descended. The process of growth in friendship has stood at a standstill ever since.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There’s plenty of hope for the long-term future. Because the young people all communicate perfectly well with each other. We have plenty of Mexican-American girls with white boyfriends, and plenty of Mexican-American men with black wives. Not to mention the intermarriages with Filipinos, Vietnamese, and other Latinos. I have baptized a lot of beautiful cappuccino babies.

But these noble young family-makers are powerless to put the brakes on a runaway train of political antagonism. We need to pray extremely hard. May we Americans find a way through the mess that we have made for ourselves, without more violence. Please, God: help us do so.

Prosperity Gospel? (Luke 15 and 16)

The fifteenth chapter of St. Luke’s gospel recounts three parables. We read them at Mass two Sundays ago… Lost sheep. Lost coin. Prodigal son. Images of Divine Mercy. Comforting, and not difficult to understand. Luke 15. [Spanish]

But Luke 16, on the other hand… First, the parable of the Dishonest Steward, which we heard at Mass last Sunday. And the painful tale of Lazarus and the Rich Man.

Lazarus Dives dogs feast

Dogs licking the poor man’s sores in this world. The rich man dying of thirst in the next life. A chasm between heaven and hell that no one can cross.

Lord Jesus addressed last Sunday’s parable of the Dishonest Steward, the first part of Luke 16, to His own disciples. But the Pharisees overheard Him. So then the Lord told the story of Lazarus and the rich man for their benefit, the Pharisees’ benefit.

It’s no accident that, in the story, the bosom on which Lazarus comes to rest belongs to Abraham. One way for us to understand all of Jesus’ dealings with the Pharisees is to grasp the fundamental question in dispute.

Namely: What does it mean to be a child of Abraham? God Almighty chose the children of Abraham as His own, His people. But what precisely makes you a child of Abraham, one of the Chosen?

Abraham lived before the ancient written law came down to Moses on Mount Sinai. Abraham lived way before Solomon built the Temple. But what Abraham had was: true humility, true faith in the Providence of God.

Now, most people know that life in this world isn’t fair. Bad luck can hit good people, and the wicked often prosper. The ancient pagans expressed this by inventing a special goddess, the goddess of Fortune. She spins the wheel of arbitrary and unfair fate.

Anyone ever heard of the “Prosperity Gospel?” If God loves you, and you’re good, then you will have a comfortable house, a shiny car, a well-padded bank account, and good teeth.  On the other hand, if you’re a loser, and can’t pay your bills, it’s your own fault.

Fortuna and wheel
the goddess Fortuna

The Prosperity Gospel lets comfortable, self-centered people like the rich man in the parable sit at their tables, while a neighbor starves–without thinking twice about it.

But the arbitrary spinning of Fortune’s wheel does not deal out justice on earth. That’s not what believing in God’s Providence means. Material prosperity does not measure interior virtue. Being wealthy doesn’t make you one of God’s Chosen.

God has given us sinners a means by which to purify our selfish hearts. We have to do battle with something. The concept of “mine.”

What did the rich man discover, when he went to meet God? He learned that all the stuff he thought was his was only temporarily his. He didn’t own his wealth. He had the stewardship of it, for a time.

scales_of_justiceHe thought he had enjoyed his money thoroughly. Turns out he stewarded it very poorly. He actually owed some of it to the poor man Lazarus. And Lazarus didn’t ask much; he would have been happy with the scraps that fell from the table. But the rich man loved his sumptuous lifestyle so much that he did not even know that Lazarus existed.

We conquer our selfishness by giving things away. In this fallen world, the children of Abraham, the children of God, learn to forget the word “mine” by giving away stuff, giving away time and energy for other people’s benefit.

I think the most haunting part of the gospel passage is the end. The rich man, suffering in hell for his selfishness and gluttony, begs Abraham to send Lazarus back. ‘Let him warn my selfish, gluttonous brothers!’

Abraham answers: ‘But they already have the words of the prophets to warn them. They should know better. Just like you should have known better.’

‘No, no,’ cried the rich man in hell: ‘They will listen; they will repent; they will turn to God and live generous lives—if someone rises from the dead. If someone comes back from the dead and teaches them that only self-sacrificing love can get you to heaven!’

The thing is: It happened. That teacher has risen from the dead. The poor man of Nazareth.

The Mitered Mafia, Impeachment, and the Savior

Jesus, the Christ, the man completely consecrated by the Holy Spirit of God, the eternal Word incarnate—He was rejected, and suffered, and died, and rose again on the third day, in order to redeem us and become our…

brunelleschi_crucifixSavior.

We need a Savior. The human race, the world, needs her divine Savior. The one and only Christ, Jesus, founder and sanctifier of His one, holy, catholic, and apostolic Church.

Everybody remembers the Pennsylvania Grand-Jury report of thirteen months ago. A couple weeks ago, the Missouri Attorney-General released his report on clergy sex abuse, the first of many more that will come this fall and winter.

The Missouri report makes a lot of thoughtful points. One of them is: Why did the current bishops let all the cases which had gone unresolved in the 80s and 90s sit around unaddressed? They had files full of information about those cases. Yet they did nothing. And now we find ourselves in this situation, with attorneys general and grand juries having to do it instead.

Everyone remembers the Theodore McCarrick case. A year ago, we all wondered: For God’s sake, what happened? How did this man manage to wind up running the Church in the US during the last sex-abuse scandal, while he himself was guilty?

We have no answers.

Some have accused the bishops and pope of being a homosexual mafia. Maybe. But the obvious fact is that they are a mafia of obtuse narcissists.

Over the course of the past forty years, most Catholic priests in the US have exercised our ministry in a basically steady manner. Yes, our parishes have had their ups and downs about “liberal/conservative” issues. But catastrophic pastoral mistakes, leading to moral and financial bankruptcies? Hasn’t happened very often, on the parish level in the US.

church_drawingNonetheless, the reputation of the Catholic clergy lies in an utter shambles. So catastrophically damaged that most people find it difficult to imagine that they should go seeking their Savior in a Catholic church.

We parish priests didn’t do this. Yes, a large number of us did wrong—but the numbers show: it’s not a larger proportion than among high-school teachers or gymnastics coaches. Just like most high-school teachers and most gymnastics coaches have shambled along all these years, trying to do right, without sexually abusing anyone–same goes for the overwhelming majority of Catholic parish priests.

The priests didn’t destroy the reputation of the Catholic Church. The bishops, governed by the pope, did, over the course of a generation. By making catastrophic pastoral mistakes, over and over again. Now we face widespread diocesan bankruptcies, and the total moral bankruptcy of the Roman Catholic hierarchy. That’s where we are now.

Congress wants to impeach the crooked president. May they have at it.

But the greater crisis involves mankind’s access to its Savior. The Church has no impeachment process for bishops or popes. But they are supposed to be Christian men who care about the salvation of souls. Why haven’t they resigned? I ask honestly. For well over a year, it has been obvious that they should allow themselves to be replaced by a random selection of parish priests, and step aside. So we can start over.

But we just keep going in circles. And Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world, lies hidden behind the organizational catastrophe that the mitered Mafia of Obtuse Narcissists has wrought.

Second Temple and Our Temples

Ezra read the Law by Dore.jpg
Ezra Reads the Law to the People, by Dore

First reading at Holy Mass today moves the heart to exultation. Ezra acknowledged before God that the Israelites deserved their bitter exile from the Holy Land, because of their sins. But now God has, in His mercy, restored a remnant of the people to their homeland. They can build the second Temple. They can worship the one, true God without fear.

So the Old Covenant continued, after the Babylonian exile, marching toward its fulfillment. Then the Christ came, the son of a second-Temple Jew, the Blessed Virgin Mary. And, as we read in our gospel reading today, He sent His Apostles to found the Church in every city and town. The New Covenant changed the direction of holy worship. It no longer involves going up to Jerusalem. Rather, from Jerusalem the new and eternal covenant now extends out, to the ends of the earth.

As Ezra put it, “God has brightened our eyes” with a place to worship Him. We have our parish churches, sanctuaries in which we can celebrate the rite which the God-man instituted, when He walked the earth in the flesh.

Ezra did not take it for granted. Let’s not take it for granted, either. Let’s give the Lord our thanks, that we have a church, in spite of our own sins. And let’s honor those who have gone before us, whose sacrifices made it possible for us to celebrate Christ’s sacraments in peace.

Let’s follow in our forebears’ footsteps. Let’s try to prove ourselves worthy of their sacrifices, rejoicing in the Lord and thinking of those who will come after us.

Hustle Like the Dishonest Steward

old-booksMost gospel commentators agree: Of all the Lord Jesus’ parables, the Parable of the Dishonest Steward is the hardest to understand.

First-century Palestine had a corrupt farming economy. Absentee landlords. Exploitative sub-leasing arrangements. Dishonesty at every level.

The Lord addressed the Parable of the Dishonest Steward to His disciples. This is not a parable about converting from serious sin to a life of obedience to God’s commandments, like the parable of the Prodigal Son we read at Sunday Mass last week. The Parable of the Dishonest Steward is for people who are already trying to follow Christ to heaven.

In other words: dishonesty and double-dealing are bad, we know that. That’s not the point here. The thing we have to focus on is this: this steward thought quickly and acted practically. He honestly identified his own difficult situation. He took decisive action to prevent personal disaster.

So, with this parable, the good Lord asks us to think of the worldly people we know, the people bent on seeking pleasure or wealth or fame. Their goals are not worthy. And yet look at how energetically and how cleverly they pursue them! Look at their dexterity and skill!

Meanwhile, you so-called disciples of Mine say that you are committed to living for My glory, You say you seek heaven–something infinitely more worth seeking than what the children of the world are after. And yet you sit around slack-jawed and passive, like Homer Simpson staring at the tv.

homer1

How can we mope around clueless and idle, while Satan’s servants are filled with uncanny zeal? We should be a hundred times more creative, more resourceful, more realistic, more prudent in rendering faithful service to God than the children of this world are in chasing after the shadows of selfishness and greed.

The Lord added: I tell you, make friends for yourselves with dishonest wealth, so that when it fails, you will be welcomed into eternal dwellings.

Throughout His life and ministry, Christ certainly preached the message, “God is love.” No doubt about it. That God is love was Christ’s message. But He also preached another message, which went hand-in-hand with the “God is love” thing. We have to open our ears to this other dimension of Christ’s teaching, too. God is love. True. But guess what else? Life is short.

Don’t be a woolgathering, slack-jawed, passive disciple. Be a disciple who is more clever than the cleverest Las-Vegas hustler. Because everything we have in our hands now, everything about which we even can be clever now–it will all pass away. Everything we see or touch now will pass away. Life on earth will end. And only our acts of genuine love will endure. Only the pure love we share with God and our neighbor will endure. Everything else is just so much straw.

It’s not a sin to have a million dollars. The sin would be to think that a million dollars will do me any good after I die–which I will soon do. It’s not a sin to hold power and influence in this world. The sin would be to think that I have any power over death and judgment. Death and judgment will come when they will come, whether I like it or not.

Let’s use a Las-Vegas metaphor. God holds the cards. All the cards are His. He deals me a hand to play in this short life. And He tells me, “Son, play your hand to win friends for eternal life. Play your hand so that when the game is over–which it will be, very soon–the other players will say of you, ‘That’s a kind person. That’s a God-fearing person. That’s a person who listens before he speaks and gives with no thought of taking.’”

The steward in the parable thought of his future, and it put the present into perspective. The Lord asks us to do the same. Life is short. Pray hard. Love. Let go of everything else.