Scripture tells us we cannot serve two masters. This is the classic “either-or” dichotomy. You can do both. You must choose one. Jesus uses this dilemma is describing choices. I think this is worth an examination. There are probably many of these choices that go unnoticed because we are not tuned into what the Holy Spirit is telling us. Here are six such dichotomies and my reflections.

God and Money. 24* “No one can serve two masters.m He will either hate one and love the other, or be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

  1. Either you are god or God is God. You are god when you don’t love others as Christ loves you. All sin is rooted in this deception. It is one of the three temptations of Christ and is certainly at work in today’s Church, where the forces of evil try to seduce the faithful and those with weak faith to abandoning Christ because some of his followers are corrupt. As I said once before, show me a denomination that is without sin and I will join that body immediately. So far, no one measures up.
  2. Either you are a church or the Church Universal is the Body of Christ. One of the unintended consequences of the Protestant Reformation was not a continuity of doctrine, practice, or prayer but just the opposite. Each person became his or her own church. If you don’t like the way the Church does things, start your own. If you disagree with the Catholic Church to the point where the accidentals become the essentials, you are your own Church. If you are your own Church, you have a fool for a pope.
  3. Either you have faith that Christ is present in the Eucharist and the Blessed Sacrament, body and blood, soul and divinity, and is real food, or you do not. St. Thomas Aquinas said about Christ present under the appearance of bread,” To those who have no faith, no answer is possible; to those who have faith, no answer is necessary.” There are two types of Catholics, according to how I view reality, those who truly believe in the Real Presence, and those who just believe that we make Christ present when we think about him in our hearts. If I would ask you the question, “What do you see?” when you look at the Blessed Sacrament or the Eucharistic prayer, your answer would tell me if you have the foundation needed to approach the Mystery of Faith.
  4. Either you believe that there are two universes or you believe that there are three. The latter means you can “listen” with the ear of the heart (St. Benedict’s Prologue to his Rule), or you just live in the World (two universes, physical and mental).


In this dichotomy, one will lead you to heaven and one will not. An Orthopedic Surgeon told me one time that I was wasting my life as a Lay Cistercian, chasing spiritual windmills that don’t do anything but take up time. I asked him which profession will get us to heaven? Of course, his assumptions are that neither one will because there is no heaven, no hell.

Professor Dumbledore tells Harry Potter, in the Chamber of Secrets movie about the choices we make.

“[The sorting hat] only put me in Gryffindor,” said Harry in a defeated voice, “because I asked not to go in Slytherin…”

“Exactly,” said Dumbledore, beaming once more. “Which makes you very different from Tom Riddle. It is our choices, Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.”

Read Philippians 2:5-12. Jesus became one of us, astoundingly, to give us that choice of good so that evil would not be the default in each age. That is the Good News. Christ not only give us the choice of what is good but tells us he is the way, the truth, and the life. Our life is all about discovering what that means. What that means is all about love (Deuteronomy 6:5 and Matthew 22:37). Love is all about loving others because Christ first loved us. I have been honored to be selected by the Lay Cistercians of Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Monastery, Conyers, Georgia, to join them in this search.

As the Knight says to Indiana Jones,

You are not able to choose Christ if there are no choices. There are consequences to all our choices, good ones and bad one. We may not seem them at once, but they are there. The wages of sin are death. The choice of Christ is everlasting life. Choose wisely.

Praise to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever. The God who is ,who was, and who is to come at the end of the ages. Amen and Amen. –Cistercian doxology



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