‘Hear this, you who trample upon the needy and destroy the poor of the land! "When will the new moon be over," you ask, "that we may sell our grain, and the sabbath, that we may display the wheat? We will diminish the ephah, add to the shekel, and fix our scales for cheating!"’
The Prophet Amos warns us quite bluntly against exploiting the poor or cheating others in business. He does this not only to protect the poor, but also to prompt conversion of the cheaters. God wants us to treasure each other more than we value possessions, for the love of things can twist us into loving each other less. As soon as I give in to the desire for my brother’s possessions more than I desire to be in good relationship with my brother, I have devalued the person for the sake of worldly things. I have fallen, then, into the trap of using people and loving things.
Christ Jesus teaches us to love people and use things, not the other way around. Good stewardship of our time, talent, and treasure requires that we ask ourselves: “How may I best use my gifts to serve God and my neighbor?” Worldly self-interest, on the other hand, prompts us to ask: “How may I best use God and my neighbor?” Only one of these two attitudes will lead me to grow in relationship with God and my neighbor; the selfish path leads to isolation, competition, and the devaluing of other persons. Devaluing persons leads to even greater evils: theft, exploitation, slavery, malice, and even murder. “You cannot serve both God and mammon.”
May our honest efforts in good stewardship and self-giving service guard us from lonely self-indulgence and lead us to the charity that builds up the Kingdom of God in our hearts and in our world.
Peace in Christ,
Father Matthew Kuhn
P.S. I want to clear up some confusion that remains regarding youth ministry at St. Henry’s. Anthony Anderson will continue working with our youth for the Steubenville retreats and related fundraisers, youth-led Masses (2nd Sundays), and other youth events. I have asked Lisa Hendrickx to be the center of organization and communication for youth events as part of her role as Director of Religious Education. Because of this shift in responsibilities, I have asked Anthony to lead these youth events as a volunteer youth coordinator. I hope he will continue to be just as involved with our youth and young adults. I also hope that you will get to know Lisa better as she becomes part of these activities as well.
So, if you have questions or ideas for youth events or want to take part in liturgy for a youth-led Mass, talk to Anthony; if you want to register for a youth event or check your student’s remaining balance for a retreat, talk to Lisa. Both are valued members of our youth ministry team, and I am grateful for them sharing their gifts with our parish family.