No servant can serve two masters…
Reading this gospel verse, I think of a Christmas in the early days of my marriage. With a baby in diapers, another on the way and two families used to celebrating the Nativity with large gatherings, it was quite a time. The days before Christmas were frenzied but nothing like Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. As soon as my husband got home from work on December 24th, we bundled everything in the car and rushed to my in-laws for Christmas Eve Dinner and the traditional "see the lights" drive; then back to their home for a gift exchange, then stop by my parents for a late night Christmas dessert. Back home, we got the baby’s gifts and Christmas stocking ready in anticipation of our early morning Christmas. Getting up at 5 or so, we finished last minute preparations, dressed up the baby and ourselves and headed off to Mass. Then it was a quick Christmas breakfast and gift exchange before loading up the car again in order to arrive at my parents for a big family celebration. And of course, being young and foolish, we had also invited friends to join us for a late night Christmas gathering back at our home. In today’s world, this type of scenario is all too common. Working parents have to juggle careers and families- school, sports, and other activities with time together.
And so it is with our Faith. It is our intention to be devout Catholics, to spend time in prayer and reading scripture, and keeping up with Christian authors. But along the way, we find that we have to work a few extra hours, help the kids with homework, drive to a sports event, fix dinner, go shopping and on and on and on. So what do you think? Are we so involved in the details of everyday life that we are neglecting our Faith? Are we serving two masters? I think not.
Jesus is telling us is that we should serve one master, God. But how we serve God can well be in the details of day to day living. If our goals are wrapped up in achieving power or money or accumulation of more and more material things, we are serving the wrong master. However, if when we go to work, or school, or do chores, we do these with the thought that all we do is to give honor and glory to God and because we believe this is God’s will, then we are serving the right Master – no matter how many activities we take part in over Christmas!
Mary Lou Butler is a long-time friend and partner in ministry to the Passionists in California.