Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Richness in God’s Sight
Jesus’ words in the Gospel are direct and challenging: take care against all greed…life does not consist of possessions. He follows with the parable of the rich farmer with a bountiful harvest, tying into our human desire for security on all levels of life: finances, independence, health, and our sense of personal value. Oh Jesus knows us well!
We all long for security. The rich farmer of the parable could be a farmer of 2013 growing wheat in Kansas or corn in Iowa; a bumper crop and changing market conditions force him to replace his barns and bins with bigger ones; with his crops stored he rests contentedly on a job well done…but… Jesus reminds us all that greed and selfishness can easily slip into our way of thinking, giving us a false sense of security, even a sense of isolation – and perhaps a forgetfulness about God.
The parable may be from "back when" in Gospel times, but greed and selfishness is a distinct possibility for us today. How many of us "need" more money, more possessions? In our quests, we work two jobs and struggle in a competitive society…oftentimes isolating ourselves and even forgetting about others.
Saint Paul, in the second reading, reminds us to "seek what is above… think of what is above…" That’s great advice, but we still have daily needs; the clerk at the grocery store most likely won’t accept a promise of prayer to pay for a cartload of groceries! Saint Paul reminds us to check our attitude about life and things: the real meaning of life is love of God, neighbor, and self; "security" is our future with God and others…in heaven.
A word comes to mind: humility. A realistic look at self as gifted by God, along with our personal limitations. We know that we can’t go it alone…without God we can’t do anything and we have nothing. Greed is "out" — and a self-less love for God and others is "in".
Today’s Scriptures challenge us to action: a renewed sense of gratitude and generosity…an active love for God and others. This love starts in our homes and leads us out to others in special need, including the multitudes of poor and isolated people in our day; Jesus teaches us that as Christians we can’t hide behind our full grain bins!
May this season of growth bless us with a renewed sense of humility, gratitude, and generosity. Amen!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is the local leader of the Passionist community in Louisville, Kentucky.