Sunday, July 31, 2016

Reflection: Luke 12:13-21

The 17th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Luke 12:13-21

Today’s Gospel begins with an individual in the crowd asking Jesus:  “Teacher, tell my brother (or sister) to share the family inheritance with me.”  Jesus responds to this person’s statement by saying: “Friend, who appointed me as your judge or your arbitrator?”  Then he adds: “Take care to guard against all greed.  For though a person may be rich, one’s life cannot be measured by the number of possessions a person has accumulated.”

In today’s world, we hear or see numerous ads every day on television, radio, the Internet, and billboards.  We are bombarded with messages enticing us to buy clothing, electronics, cars, or televisions.  Count the number of commercials on TV or radio today.  The sad news is that many of us have come to believe that more is better or that the newest computer or car is essential for the good life.

Today Jesus also tells the crowd the story of a rich man.  This rich man had a great deal of land that typically produced a bountiful harvest.  This particular year’s crop produced such a good yield that the man did not have a barn that was large enough to store his abundant crop.  Finally, the rich man decided to tear down his barns (notice the plural) and build larger barns.  This would not only give him room for his grain, he also would have room to store some of his numerous possessions.  Stockpiling this wealth would ensure that he would be able to eat, drink, and be merry for many years.

Sounds like the good life, doesn’t it?  The reality is that many people work very hard to ensure that they will have a good life.  However, God says to this man: “You fool!  This very night your life will be demanded of you.  And everything you have worked so hard to accumulate will belong to others.”  Jesus then adds: “Thus will it be for the person who stores up earthly treasures for him/herself but who is not rich in what matters to God.”

In today’s world, we are enticed on every front to accumulate wealth, possessions and status, but today Jesus reminds us that when we die, our wealth, our possessions, and our status will not matter.  The only criterion we will be judged on is whether we have worked to accumulate the riches only God can give.  Today may be a good day to ask ourselves: Who and what is most important in my life?  Is it money, status, possessions, esteem?  Or is it the people that I love or the many individuals who are in need?  Do I strive to make a difference in our world by my love, care, and generosity?  Do I freely share the many gifts that God has given me?

Today and every day we are paving our road to heaven.  What is the path we will pave today by our choices?   Will Jesus approve of our path?  I pray so!

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