Gospel Reflection for 18th Sunday Ordinary Time Year C – July 31st 2016
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 toward God.”
RICH IN WHOSE SIGHT? – LOVE NOT WEALTH
You can look around a lot and the gospel today makes 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.
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.
The battle – being rich in the sight of the world and being rich in the sight of God.
The opposite of the obstacles – simplicity, integrity, humility. Humility is pride in who we are – children of God, brothers and sisters to each other, and accepting ourselves just as we are. We need nothing outside of ourselves to make us feel good about ourselves. This too is simplicity.
What we have is gift, given to us for the good of the world, the community, the neighbourhood, not just for the good of the self.
Ask in the end what matters. Judged on love not on wealth. Or if we have 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.
Lord, may your kingdom of justice and peace come on earth.
Fr Donal Neary SJ is editor of the Sacred Heart Messenger