Commentary on the Gospel of

Cindy Costanzo - Creighton University's College of Nursing

Luke 16: 9-15 
“No servant can serve two masters.
He will either hate one and love the other,
or be devoted to one and despise the other.
You cannot serve God and mammon.” 

Inner freedom, faith, trust, letting go of fears, and focusing on the love of God are the words and phrases that keep coming to me as I reflect on this passage. I am reminded of the First Principle and Foundation from the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola, “God created human beings to praise, reverence, and serve God, and by doing this, to save their souls,” (Elder Mullan, SJ.). If I can limit my distractions, focus on praising and serving God, then I will experience an inner freedom, an ability to let go of my ‘fears,’ to not ‘serve mammon’ and respond with love in all parts of my life.  
What fears do I have and why do I have fears? What makes me “serve mammon”?  I confess as an imperfect human I have many fears. Fears of not having enough money to retire, fears of not meeting the obligations of my position, fears of not providing for my family, fears of not meeting expectations. Why do I have these fears? Ego, self-identity, professional identity, social expectations, family expectations…all which impact how I relate to others. When am I most fearful? I am most fearful on the days when I am distracted or am busy with the million things on the to do list, and I do not take the time to pray.  
I would like to share the contemporary version of the First Principle and Foundation from the Spiritual Exercises of Ignatius of Loyola by David Fleming, S.J. which I believe is a great morning prayer. If I spend a few moments in the morning with this prayer then my day at home, at work, or in the community is more positive, my interactions are kind and loving, my heart is filled with joy for the time spent with others and for the work that I do.  

The First Principle and Foundation contemporary version by David Fleming, SJ,  
“The goal of our life is to live with God forever. God, who loves us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows God’s life to flow into us without limit. All the things in this world are gifts of God, presented to us so that we can know God more easily and make a return of love more readily. As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God insofar as they help us develop as loving persons. But if any of these gifts become the center of our lives, they displace God and so hinder our growth toward our goal. In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice and are not bound by some obligation. We should not fix our desires on health or sickness, wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or a short one. For everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in God. Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to God’s deepening his life in me.” 


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