Bulletin 207 - December 9/December 22, 2002
December 9/December 22, 2002
Twenty-Sixth Sunday after Pentecost
He (Abba Isidore) also said, 'It is impossible for you to live according to God if you love pleasures and money.'
Then He spoke a parable to them saying, "The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, 'What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?' So he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, "Soul, You have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry"' But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then whose will those things be which you have provided?" So is he who lays up treasures for himself, and is not rich towards God."
If we want to find the meaning and purpose in life, let us look to the Lord God. Let us look to our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Let us search the Holy Scriptures and see the work of God through the centuries.
The present Gospel reveals the temporary value of material goods. The present Gospel reveals that materials goods do us no good at the time we are ready to depart this life.
Material good are of value only in the present world. There was a time before our birth when we had no material possessions. At the time of our departure from this life, no material possessions will go with us.
God is the constant of our lives. The present Gospel reveals the rich man's soul would be required of him at the time he felt he was financially secure. Actually the man felt he was abundantly wealthy.
When we measure our wealth, let us measure the goodness of God in our lives. Let us measure the abundance given us by God and our own unworthiness in receiving it.
When we think about wealth, let us think about laying up treasurers in heaven where neither moth nor rust consume and where thieves cannot break in an steal (Mt.6:20). God loves a cheerful giver (2 Cor.9:7).
We go through different stages in life. We make certain major decisions as we proceed. The rich man the present Gospel was at a decision point in his life.
He could have shared his abundance with the poor. In sharing with the poor, he would have been consistent with the teachings of the Holy Gospel. We hear every year on the Sunday of the Last Judgement of the importance of giving to the sick, the suffering, the imprisoned, the hungry and the naked. We learn of the presence of Jesus Christ in each suffering and needy person (Mt.25:31-46)
Concern for the hungry and the poor is evident in the Gospel of St.Luke. We learn in St.Luke's Gospel that when we feed the poor, the maimed, the lame and the blind who cannot repay us, repayment comes at the resurrection of the just.(Lk.14:12-14)
Indeed, the rich man in today's Gospel lived without heeding the teachings of God. Those who heed the teaching of God learn from the Psalmist who said: "Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom." (Ps.90:12)
God looks to the heart. The widow who gave a small amount, but actually gave all that she had, was recognized by God for her great sacrifice. The widow was recognized in the words of Christ as giving much more than the rich who gave a much lesser percentage of their wealth. (Lk.21:1-4)
We can learn from the present Gospel of the temporary nature of this present life on earth. We can learn from the present Gospel that our earthly life can come to an end suddenly and without much forewarning. It is important that we are mindful of God. It is important that we are mindful of caring for our soul.
We do not want to be like the foolish virgins we hear about every year during Holy Week (Mt.25:1-13). We find security only in Jesus Christ. We find security only in the life in Jesus Christ. We are protected only when we live in Christ, according to the way of Christ.
The rich man in the present Gospel could have given from his abundance to God. He could have been rich towards God. The rich man could have been sensitive to the presence of God in his life. He could have been thankful and showed his appreciation.
The man decided to eat, drink and be merry. He decided to be greedy in accumulating more wealth than he would ever need. Decision points in life can take us closer to God or further away.
We need to pray for the clearness of vision to see God at work in our lives. We need to pray for the resolve to be serious about God in our lives. We need to be attentive to a life of prayer, of repentance, of sacrifice for the good of others.
The present Gospel reminds us clearly to be attentive about our souls. Good happens to us by the goodness and mercy of God. Additionally, we have a responsibility to live in faithfulness to the commitment we made to Jesus Christ at Holy Baptism.
Our whole lives, our total beings were set aside for, dedicated to God at Baptism and Chrismation. Material wealth and other blessings from God are to be used in accord with the way of God.
When we choose to live consistently with the way and teachings of God, our life increases in joy. Our life takes on greater contentment when we live in Jesus Christ. We experience peace in Christ when we live with and for Christ.