El Shaddai celebrates with enthousiasm its anniversary
We can become rich...!
El Shaddai celebrated its 27th anniversary on the 5th of november in Vredeskerk (Our Lady Queen of Peace). For the first time after Covid everything looked "normal", like before the pandemic. Guests from abroad and from the Netherlands were present to join in the celebration. The Massreadings touched an important topic, especially for our times: What is the impact of (lack of) money and wealth?
El Shaddai is an international catholic charismatic movement or prayer community with roots in the Philippines. From the international community Sis. Mae Hartberg was present. She is Executive coordinator for the USA, Canada and Europe. Representatives of other chapters, like Psaris and Brussels, were present as well. The ambassador of the Philippines, His Exc. J. Eduardo Malaya was also there and greeted the assembly after Holy Mass (picture).
A number of priests concelebrated: SMA-Fathers and Philippine priests and many faithful had come picture). A number of altar servers, a liturgical dance group (picture) and a choir (picture) contributed to a festive celebration.
Readings: Phil. 4, 10-19; Lk. 16, 9-15
Money, money, money...
SATURDAY IN THE 31 THE WEEK EL SHADDAI
Not a penny!
Today’s readings are about money!
Many of people’s worries are about money,
like the Abba-pop song has it:
“I work all night, I work all day
To pay the bills I have to pay
Ain't it sad?
And still there never seems to be
A single penny left for me”.
The cost of living
Especially in the times we are living in,
the worries about money have increased:
prices are rising,
the cost of living has increased,
gas has become expensive,
the number of people struggling with debts
is rising sharply now,
which causes a lot of stress
for these persons and their families.
Sometimes the parochial charity institution
can give some help
and there are initiatives to help people
to settle their debts,
and let us also pray for people
who are getting in financial trouble now.
What about money?
Today’s readings provide us with several considerations
about our handling of money,
about wealth and poverty
and the place that money has in our lives.
Of course we need money
to be able to live,
but what is the space it takes
and the importance it has
in our minds and hearts?
The Pharisees were attached to wealth;
they loved money
and they justified themselves
in doing so.
To them Jesus said:
“God knows your hearts”.
If money is too important for us,
it becomes an idol,
which Jesus calls “mammon”.
Jesus ad money
True life is not about your money,
it is about your heart,
it is about a heart full of love
for the Lord and for your fellow man.
And the example for this
is Jesus himself:
He became poor,
although he was rich.
He was God,
he had everything,
all things were in his power,
but he became poor:
he became a carpenter from Nazareth
who was rejected and brought to death,
like a criminal person.
By his poverty
we can become rich,
but not rich in the sense
of having a lot of money.
We will be rich
because of a spiritual treasure we will possess,
because of eternal life that is promised to us,
because of our unity with God
and his blessed Mother,
because of the holy Spirit that was given to us
and guides our thoughts and actions.
Unfortunately if people become rich
or become very focussed on money and property
they often lose the true richness,
because they are depending too much
on material wealth and the desire for it
and their hearts get closed
and their lives become selfish.
That is why Jesus said:
“It is easier for a camel
to go through the eye of a needle,
than for a rich man to enter
into the kingdom of God.” (Matt. 19:24.)
Can rich people be saved?
This does not mean that rich people
cannot enter the kingdom of heaven,
though it is more difficult for them.
If you are rich
you should life as if you were not rich
and lead a simple life and serve.
There are rich people
who have as a goal in their lives
to serve their fellow man and woman,
to do good and be useful for other people,
for society, for the church and for God.
I am grateful for those rich people
who serve others and God with their fortune,
who become friends with people in need.
That is what Jesus recommends us
in today’s gospel:
Make friends with dishonest wealth.
The example of the saints
So many great saints have given us
this example through their words and actions,,
for instance Saint Elisabeth of Hungary
whom we celebrate later this month:
she was a queen, but in simple dresses
she visited the sick,
helped the needy
and spent her fortune for that.
Her life was service to God and to man.
And there are so many other examples,
both rich man and beggars
can become saints!
Why does Jesus speak about “dishonest wealth”
in today’s gospel?
It is because money and material things
are not the true wealth
and they are able to corrupt you.
True wealth is your spiritual richness.
Dishonest, material wealth should be
in service of the increase of spiritual wealth.
Saint Paul knew what this was.
He lived in humble circumstances
and he also had times of great abundance,
but he learned to stay close to God
and to depend on him
“I have the strength for everything
through him who empowers me”,
Dear Lord, strengthen us
so that material wealth does not become our focus
but just a help to acquire spiritual riches
and to serve the Lord and our fellow man and woman.