Gospel Reflection for the 18th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – August 4th 2013
Full scripture for this Sunday is available on our parish website. Daily Scripture is also available. Our parish Prayers of the Faithful for this Sunday are made available on the Dublin Diocesan website.
A man in the crowd said to him, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance’. ‘My friend,’ he replied-’who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs’.
Then he told them a parable: ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time”. But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?”. So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.’
Luke 12: 13-21
The gospel today makes a lot of sense. It points at how we can get caught up in what we own and what people have. It’s about possessions and how they take us over. Or how we react when we lack what we once had. We enjoy wealth but we have a mixed reaction to it.
St Ignatius mentioned three obstacles to our faith – wealth, honour, pride. He saw from his own experience that people wanted wealth so that they would be highly thought of – it can be right school, the right address, the right bank. And pride in what we have. And we know things can change very quickly. Shares go down; you may die or become ill and what then?
Rich in whose sight?
The battle – between being rich in the sight of the world and being rich in the sight of God.
The opposite of the obstacles St Ignatius mentioned – simplicity, integrity, humility. Humility is pride in who we are – children of God, brothers and sisters, and me just as I am. I need nothing outside of myself to make me feel good about myself. This too is simplicity but not necessarily simple.
What we have is gift, given to us for the good of the world, the community, the neighbourhood, not just for the good of myself.
Love not wealth
Ask in the end what matters. Judged on love not on wealth. Or if wealth, on what we did with our wealth. It can lead us away from God very easily. Do we live like him?
Be rich in God – in mercy, love, forgiveness and justice.
Donal Neary SJ