And I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends by means of the mammon of unrighteousness; that, when it fails, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
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Ambrose of Milan
“No servant can serve two masters,” not because there are two, but the Lord is One. Although there are those who serve mammon, he still does not possess any rights to sovereignty, but they impose on themselves the chains of slavery. Power is not just, but slavery is unjust. He says, “Make for yourself friends of the mammon of iniquity,” so that by giving to the poor, we may match the grace of the angels and all the saints for ourselves. He does not rebuke the steward. By this, we learn that he does not belong to the Lord himself but to the riches of others. Although he has sinned, he is praised because he sought help for himself in the future through the Lord’s mercy. He fittingly mentions the mammon of iniquity, because greed tempted our dispositions with different enticements of wealth, so that we were willing to be the slaves of riches. –.
Mammon is the Hebrew word for “riches,” just as in Punic the word for “profit” is mammon. What are we to do? What did the Lord command? “Make yourselves friends with the mammon of iniquity, so that they too, when you begin to fail, may receive you into eternal shelters.” It is easy, of course, to understand that we must give alms and a helping hand to the needy, because Christ receives it in them…. We can understand that we have to give alms and that we must not really pick and choose to whom we give them, because we are unable to sift through people’s hearts. When you give alms to all different types of people, then you will reach a few who deserve them. You are hospitable, and you keep your house ready for strangers. Let in the unworthy, in case the worthy might be excluded. You cannot be a judge and sifter of hearts.
An, through possessing a competency, both not himself to be in straits about money, and also to give assistance to those to whom it is requisite so to do! For if no one had anything, what room would be left among men for giving? And how can this dogma fail to be found plainly opposed to and conflicting with many other excellent teachings of the Lord? "Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, that when ye fail, they may receive you into the everlasting habitations."
And (in like manner) I say unto you, Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness. Ye have heard how the unjust steward made his lord"s debtors so kindly disposed towards him, that when he was deprived of his stewardship, they were willing to receive him into their houses. In like manner take heed that ye, who have wasted your lord"s goods through your misuse of them, by the mammon or the riches of unrighteousness—not by robbery and fraud, but in another sense which I will soon explain—give to the poor, so that after this life is over, they may receive you into everlasting habitations.
Here note that the word unrighteousness has a double signification. In the case of the steward it meant dishonesty and deceit: in our case it has a different meaning, us I shall proceed, to show.
Make to yourselves friends of the mammon of unrighteousness, i.e. of riches, which are "unrighteous" in a fourfold sense and from a fourfold cause.
1. Because riches are often amassed through u...
Anyone may readily learn the meaning and view of the Savior’s words from what follows. He said, “If you have not been faithful in what is another’s, who will give you what is your own?” We again say that what is another’s is the wealth we possess. We were not born with riches, but on the contrary, naked. We can truly affirm in the words of Scripture that “we neither brought anything into the world, nor can carry anything out.” … Let those of us who possess earthly wealth open our hearts to those who are in need. Let us show ourselves faithful and obedient to the laws of God. Let us be followers of our Lord’s will in those things that are from the outside and not our own. Let us do this so that we may receive what is our own, that holy and admirable beauty that God forms in people’s souls, making them like himself, according to what we originally were. Commentary on Luke, Homily
He told another parable of the steward, who was accused in the presence of his master. The shrewdness of this unjust steward was praised in the presence of his master. He unjustly wasted the initial treasures and then unjustly and cunningly cancelled the later debts. He was praised because he acquired what was to be his by what was not his, namely, his friends and supporters. Through what was not his, Adam got something that was not his, namely, thorns and pains. O children of Adam, buy for yourselves those things that do not pass away, by means of those temporary things that are not yours! Commentary on Tatian’s Diatessaron
Make for yourselves friends Not that we are authorized to wrong our neighbour, to give to the poor: evil is never to be done, that good may come from it. (St. Thomas Aquinas)
But we are exhorted to make the poor our friends before God, by relieving them with the riches which justly indeed belong to us, but are called the mammon of iniquity, because only the iniquitous man esteems them as riches, on which he sets his affections; whilst the riches of the virtuous are wholly celestial and spiritual. (St. Augustine, de quæst. Evang.)
Of the mammon of iniquity. Mammon is a Syriac word for riches; and so it might be translated, of the riches of iniquity. Riches are called unjust, and riches of iniquity, not of themselves, but because they are many times the occasion of unjust dealings, and of all kind of vices. (Witham)
Mammon signifies riches. They are here called the mammon of iniquity, because oftentimes ill-gotten, ill-bestowed, or an occasion of evil; and at the best are but worldly,...
You know that many high standing people renege on repayment of a loan. They are either resistant with a bad attitude or unable to pay because of poverty, as it often happens. In the case of the Lord of all, there is no room for thinking this. On the contrary, the loan is proof against loss. He guarantees to return in good time one hundred percent of what was deposited, and he keeps life everlasting in reserve for us. In the future, what excuse will we have if we are negligent and fail to gain a hundredfold in place of the little we have, the future in place of the present, the eternal in place of the temporary? What excuse will we have if we heedlessly lock our money behind doors and barricades, and we prefer to leave it lying idle? Instead, we should make it available to the needy now, so that in the future we may count on support from them. Remember that Scripture says, “Make friends with illgotten gains so that, when you go down in the world, they may welcome you into their eternal ...
How shall we fashion to us friends from mammon.
Otherwise, if you think that we should give indiscriminately to all who ask, that seems to me to mean that you would give, I say not wine to him who has a fever, but even poison or a sword to him who longs for death. But how we are to understand "Make to yourselves friends of mammon"