If you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Colossians 3:1
Living God, Judge of us all,
you have placed in our hands the wealth
we call our own:
through your Spirit give us wisdom,
that our possessions may not be a curse,
but a means of blessing in our lives.
Grant this through Jesus Christ our Lord,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity
of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen
- Hosea 11:1-11
- Psalm 107:1-9, 43
- Col 3:1-11
- Luke 12:13-21
- Isaiah 1:1, 10-20
- Psalm 50: 1-8, 23-24
- Heb 11:1-3, 8-16
- Luke 12:13-21
Eighth Sunday after Pentecost – Luke 12:13-21
The parable of the foolish rich man: “’You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’”
Rabbis were often asked to arbitrate conflicts within families and communities. In today’s Gospel, Jesus has been approached to settle such an argument over an inheritance. Jesus responds not by taking sides but by addressing the greed that has brought both sides to near blows. He tells the parable of the rich man who, in the midst of his good fortune, loses his sense of what is really important. Possessions create the illusion that we can control our lives; the drive for gain makes us oblivious to the needs and dreams of others. The “foolish” rich man in today’s Gospel sadly discovers that wealth in the reign of God has nothing to do with stock portfolios, bank accounts or the social register.
We tend to live our lives believing that there will always be enough time to right our wrongs and to atone for our negligence and insensitivities to others – but, in fact, our days are numbered, death is an inevitability for all of us.
We are often as short-sighted as the rich farmer in today’s Gospel: we can become so self-centred and self-sufficient that we shut ourselves off from the seemingly simple aspects of life in which we find the love and presence of God. Faith is the constant awareness that life is not a destination in itself but a journey to God and that death is the final passageway.
Our lives are not about amassing fortunes or achieving great celebrity – our lives are about finding and embracing selfless and affirming love, about discovering how to love one another as God loves us: totally and completely, without condition nor limit. Today’s Gospel is more than an indictment of wanton consumerism; it’s a challenge to consider how we use things, the value we place on “stuff.” Jesus calls us to take an inventory of our lives and the things that “clutter” them and refocus on the treasures of God: compassion, mercy, forgiveness, peace.
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