Gospel Reflection July 31 – Msgr. Hendricks
Sunday, July 31
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.”
The gospel today reaffirms the old adage, “You can’t take it with you.” Yet, the gospel story points to a deeper and richer meaning of how we see our possessions and savings.
In short the gospel points to the fact that a person’s life is not measured by what they possess, or that one’s possessions can ensure a good and safe life.
In the view of Jesus and that of the Jews at the time, all that one has is a gift from God and is earmarked by divine purposes. We use our gifts to serve others. In the gospel the rich man who piles up his goods did not understand this and saves for himself.
In his thoughts, he consults with himself and not God about the use of his gifts and hence misses the point.
While possessions and money are good, they are to be used for good and not hoarded for one’s own purposes.
In the opening passage from the gospel, we see a conflict over who gets what from an inheritance. That quarrel among families continues to reverberate in our communities today. Following the example of Jesus in the gospel, we need to step away from these conflicts when possible and see the greater that is pointed out in the parable. The real treasure is that which we store up in heaven by our proper use of the gifts we have and by sharing those treasures with others.