I’ve been a priest for more than 55 years and a criticism I often hear from the laity is that priests are always talking about money. Well, of the 38 parables Jesus told, 19 of them dealt with handling possessions. The use of money is necessary for Christians, but our focus should be on the relationships we have with our loving Creator and with each other.
The problem with money lies in our attitude toward it. It’s just like dealing with alcoholism: Alcohol itself is not the problem. The way we use alcohol can be life threatening. If our relationship to alcohol is one of serious dependence, then we have become a slave to alcohol.
Jesus insists that any relationship with our loving Father be one that is based on trust. Unfortunately, we could give many examples of our unwillingness to trust, because by doing so we become vulnerable. All too often we would rather protect our own interests, by acquiring wealth, sometimes to the detriment of others.
If money has gained control over our lives, then we have become a slave to money. When money separates us from other people, rather than bringing us closer to others, then it is effectively controlling our relationships. When money dictates with whom we will spend our time, or effects any number of important decisions we make, then we have become addicted to it.
Our true self-worth comes from an inner communication with our Creator, not with the outward show of money and power. Jesus directly attacked the view that wealth is power. Our strength comes from relying on our loving God, not by our accumulation of riches.