USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke.
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”
Good News Reflection: Belonging to God
“The Lord made us, we belong to him.” This is the psalmist’s response to God’s love in today’s responsorial.
Saint Paul reminds us in the first reading that we used to be spiritually dead, following the ways of the devil in his kingdom of disobedience instead of following Christ. But God, in his generous mercy, drew us into the gift of life that he provided when Jesus died for our sins.
What do we do with this gift of life?
Paul goes on to say that we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that he prepared in advance for us to do. Have you figured out yet what God has prepared for you to do? Are you a divinely inspired, purpose-driven Catholic? (This is the theme of the Second Vatican Council’s document called “The Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity”, one of the core seminars of my ministry since the founding of Good News Ministries in 1995: see gnm.org/event-topics.)
Since we belong to the One who made us, everything we have also belongs to him. As Jesus points out in today’s Gospel passage, this includes whatever wealth we have, be it small or large, financial or otherwise. Why store up possessions and money or skills and talents for our own use when God has a greater use for it? What do you have that God wants to share with others?
God is not a harsh Daddy who forces us to share our toys with our sisters and brothers. Rather, God is the source of our life and of our money and of everything else that’s good for us. He is the source of the food we eat and the roof over our heads and the computers that connect us to the digital Good News. And he has a greater purpose for everything that he provides; a purpose beyond serving just us and our families.
If you’re facing unemployment, are you asking God how he wants to use your talents and intelligence? If you’re lacking the opportunity to achieve a dream you’ve been holding onto, are you willing to let him move you outside the box of your comfort zone into something you otherwise never would have considered?
Material sources as the solution to our problems are only temporary helps, not eternal ones. God’s help is here, now and eternally. How much do you really believe this? Here’s one way to measure it. (Are you sure you want to continue reading this?) How much money do you put in the collection basket at church?
As one who’s ushered the basket up and down the pews, I can tell you that most Catholics do not know what it means to belong to God. Apparently, most Catholics think that God is the source of the salaries of the church’s staff and payments for electricity and mortgage and carpet cleaning and plumbing repairs, and so on – without much help from us. At the same time, we forget that God is also the source of our own finances.
God is going to send a big check from heaven to the priest’s desk to cover the parish bills with enough left over to help the needy – but how will he do it except through all of us sharing what he has given to us?
I used to be afraid that if I donated a tithe (10%) of our family income, like scripture tells us to, we’d end up with our house foreclosed and our car repossessed. (For the full story on how my husband and I overcame this fear, see wordbytes.org/finances-tithing.) Now, realize that tithing is OLD Testament thinking. New Testament thinking — Christian thinking — is exampled by the community of believers in the Book of Acts: No one claimed any of their possessions as their own, but they shared everything (read Acts 4:32-35).
How is this kind of generosity possible? Our fears change to trust when we meditate on what it means to belong to God.
For more help with this, see our WordBytes on Finances: wordbytes.org/finances.
My Lord, help me to recognize You as the treasure to look for. Praised be You, eternal Love of all humankind!
© 2018 by Terry A. Modica