October 19, 2020, Monday of the 29th Week of Ordinary Time
Wishing each of you peace and well-being,
Scripture: Luke 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.’ But he said to him, ‘Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?’ And he said to them, ‘Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.’ Then he told them a parable: ‘The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, “What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?” Then he said, “I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.” But God said to him, “You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich towards God.’
The Word of the Lord. Thanks be to God.
“‘. . . one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. “
Some scripture scholars think that Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles were written for Gentile Christians, in particular Christian communities struggling with equity among the haves and have-nots. Today’s passage is about greed and wanting to keep what we view as “ours.” Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t say that we should get rid of all our possessions. Instead, he points out that neither the quantity nor the quality of possessions should define the quality of one’s life.
Jesus is speaking about the difference between possessing “things” and being possessed by them. The former points to an inner freedom, while the latter points to a kind of slavery. In this parable, the man is a fool not because he is rich, but because he hoards his belongings; he is a slave to “having.” We too can fall victim to our possessions. We become slaves to them when we are overly concerned about them and cannot openly share our things or give them away. The slave to possessions thinks, “What is mine is mine and no one can take it away.” If a possession “owns” us, we are no longer free to give it away. It can be as big as a car, or as small as a piece of jewelry. Jesus’ invitation to us all is to have some possessions and to enjoy them, but not to let them become the goal or the ultimate measuring stick. Rather, all that we have —- whether we are considering nature, people, or possessions, are gifts received from God.
Lord, as I look around where I am sitting, I take a moment to really see all you have given me. Help me to loosen my grip on things that I am holding tightly. Amen.
“All that we are and all that we have is a gift of God.”