Gospel Reflection Aug 4 – Deacon Frank
Sunday, August 4
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 12: 13 – 21
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”
Three modern day parables…
A sign outside a church announced: “Don’t wait for the hearse to take you to church”.
The famous preacher Rev. Billy Graham once said, “You never see a hearse pulling a U-Haul trailer”
When the richest man in a town died, the local news reporter asked his pastor, “How much did he leave?” The pastor replied, “all of it!”
This weekend’s gospel has Jesus sharing the parable of the rich farmer who stored up all his goods and wealth. The farmer thought he was set for life, he had all he needed. Yes, Jesus calls him a fool. The farmer was wealthy in worldly goods but he did not grow rich in the sight of God. The word “fool” simply means someone with limited thinking – someone without good sense.
The parable Jesus tells will follow a few comments he made about greed and how dangerous it is. Greed is one of the capital sins and gives rise to actions like cheating, stealing, lying, quarreling, fighting and even war. It doesn’t sound as if the farmer did any of these bad things. It sounds as if he made his fortune by good weather, and good old fashioned hard work.
So, is Jesus saying it is a sin to be rich and successful? Hardly! Jesus seems to be saying it is a sin if that is our main focus in life, if we build our security only on the things this world can give us, if we forget where our blessings come from. It is also a sin to be rich if our hearts are cold to the sufferings of those less fortunate than we are.
Giving away some of our money or sharing our goods reminds us that it is not all ours. It keeps us aware that all we have has been given to us. People like to say “I earned it.” Maybe so, but where did we get the health, the talent, the energy, the education and the opportunities to earn it. That was all given to us. We do have to provide for ourselves and our families and we have to save for that proverbial rainy day, but we can’t become totally selfish either. That’s greed. May we do our best to keep things in balance and loving God and our neighbor is part of the balance.
-Deacon Frank Iannarino