Aug 1, 2019

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Cycles of Faith
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

"The cake is frosted, the guests have arrived, and the gifts are piled high. One by one, the packages are opened, and one by one, the child reaches for another.

Who among us hasn't seen a child who appears crestfallen when the gifts run out? Even the abundance isn't quite enough. Today's Gospel tackles a key question in the spiritual life - grateful or greedy?

"There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest." We all recognize the need to be practical. Raising a family, there's need to save for all sorts of things beyond normal day-to-day costs - medical bills, family vacations, private school, rainy day funds, retirement. Jesus doesn't critique the rich man for simply having an abundant harvest. It's his mentality. Does the rich man sell off the extra to make the needed repairs to the back fence or to invest in some additional livestock to grow the business? Perhaps donate some of the excess to the poor? No. "You have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!" The man wants to hoard and indulge with no concern for others.

Jesus doesn't condemn prudent saving or owning necessary items. He calls us to purify our attitudes. "Guard against all greed... one's life does not consist of possessions." We are called to be good stewards. This means being practical. It also means remaining open to God's invitation with our resources. Are we tithing to our parish? Do we give alms to the poor? Does our weekly entertainment far outstrip what we offer to others? Life is not about "stor[ing] up treasure for [our]selves." The more we grow in gratitude and generosity, the more we become "rich in what matters to God."

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