The Real Treasure
The words of Jesus in today’s Gospel are very direct and challenging: “Take care to guard against all greed.” A question had come from the crowd about an inheritance issue and Jesus responds with both a direct answer and the supporting parable of a rich farmer with a bountiful harvest.
The Gospel story ties into our human desire for security…financial, health, independence, personal self-worth. Jesus knows us well and tried to put our yearning for security in the proper perspective. The rich farmer could be a successful Illinois farmer with a bumper corn crop and even-larger replacement grain bins. The farmer works hard, is a good organizer, a respected citizen…but Jesus also uses the word “fool”. The desire for security had led to greed; there’s no mention of sharing / helping others, or even a simple prayer of thanksgiving to God…a selfishness that blinds us to others and even God!
Jesus’ words are for “back when”…and now. Greed and selfishness tempt us, especially in our society which often overwhelms us with a “need” for more money and possessions. In our competitive society, we work and save, but we are easily mistaken if we think possessions alone will provide real security — if we think we can go it alone. Even St. Paul in the reading from Colossians encourages us to “seek what is above”, to get outside our own circle of life. Sure, we have our daily needs; the grocery clerk most likely won’t accept a promise of prayer to pay for a cartload of groceries! Jesus and St. Paul are encouraging us to check our attitude about life and “things”: don’t forget God, neighbor, and self…both “here” and in the “hereafter”.
We are challenged to cultivate a renewed generosity and an active love of God and neighbor…our real Treasure! This begins at home and leads us out to others – especially those most in need…the least and the lost of our day, the stranger and the refugee. We may try to hide behind our full grain bins, but Jesus encourages us to move out, to be grateful to God and generous with our sisters and brothers.
These summer days, may we be blessed with a renewed experience of humility, gratitude, and generosity!
Fr. John Schork, C.P. is a member of the Passionist community in Chicago, Illinois.