18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Luke 12:13-21
Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions. What wise words, still relevant, possibly even more than when Jesus uttered them. To what extent am I influenced by greed for more material possessions?
I ask for freedom from greed and for real trust in God’s providence. Today is the feast of Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits and the one whose understanding the Christian life still inspires millions of people. I thank God for this great saint, and dwell on some point of his spirituality that I find life-giving. The Dalai Lama reminds us that “We are human beings, not human doings”. On our last day we will truly understand the difference between what perishes and what remains imperishable. Lord, grant that that knowledge will not come too late for me.
In our Western society, we are driven to acquire more wealth, more possessions, more status. Today, Jesus reminds us that, when we leave all this behind, we will be asked what spiritual riches we have accumulated. Our good deeds are the only thing that will outlive us. What treasure will I accumulate that I can carry with me to the afterlife?
This is the parable for our times, where most of us seem obsessed with the idea of accumulating more and more possessions, as if the value of our life depends on how much we possess. I might not be the greedy person who is ready to trample over others to get more things, but I need to ask myself to what extent do I place my security in material things. I ask for light and for more inner freedom.
As the parable says, what really matters is making ourselves rich in the sight of God. I humbly ask God to show me what that means in my case. I ask for wisdom, not to deserve being called a fool like the rich man in the parable.
This is certainly a parable for our own times, where seeking money and more money often turns us into fools who prepare our own downfall. Jesus tells us, ‘A man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs’. I pray that our world may grow in wisdom and choose solidarity and respect for one another and for the earth, our common home.
Lord, give us imaginations big enough to reach up to yours. But make us grounded enough to want only to love and humbly serve others as best we can. Help us to do everything for the greater glory of God.