Today, Anne O’Brien, Director of Mission, reads from Luke’s Gospel (16: 9-15) in which Jesus says the person who can be trusted in little things can be trusted in great.

Anne says, our theme this morning you can be the slave both of God and of money.  You may know this story, a man by the name of Francis Bernard Dunn was spoiled by his wealthy father, who was thrilled when his son wanted to join the army and make a name for himself. No expense was spared. However, things did not turn out as either Francis or his father planned.  Seeing a knight who couldn’t afford proper armour, Francis gave his armour to that person.  Then he dreamed he was in a hall filled with magnificent banners and shields and he heard a voice ask him, “Francis, who is it better to serve, the servant or the master?’ He answered, ‘The master’. The voice said, ‘Go back to Assisi and all this will be yours’. Francis returned home, gave away his possessions and some of his father’s and chose to follow Jesus not to continue with the army. In so doing, he became not a famous knight but St Francis of Assisi, known for living out the Gospel in poverty.

Today, Anne notes, we hear Jesus say we cannot serve both God and money.  The more we give our time and energy to God, the more we realise we don’t need to be part of the rat race scrambling for the biggest possible bank balance.  The pandemic has taught us to see things differently. Let’s reflect on what we have learned during this time, during this last two years. Have we reassessed our priorities? Have we given more time to our families and to people who need our support? Did we rediscover the birds singing in the trees and the beautiful creation around us in this time of lockdown? Have we made more time for God and for others?  This is the way to follow the master not the servant money is intended to be.

Anne finishes in prayer:
Dearest Lord, teach me to follow where you lead. Make my heart entirely yours. Amen.

The background for Anne’s reflection today is a photo of Assisi in Italy which she was fortunate to visit at part of a pilgrimage some years ago, at the same time Pope Francis was also visiting. When the world opens up again, Anne says it is a beautiful, spiritual place to visit if you get the chance.