Our Ancestral Heritage

Today’s first reading (June 18, 2018) 1 Kings 21:1-16, begins with two people wanting the same property. The first, Naboth, is the owner of the property. The second is King Ahab. Ahab wants the property to be his “vegetable garden, since it is close by.” Ahab is willing to give Naboth a “better vineyard in exchange” or “its value in money.” There is nothing wrong in this so far. Ahab is interested in a piece of property and makes a fair offer.

Naboth will not sell Ahab the property because it is his “ancestral heritage.” Ahab is upset by this, lies down on his bed, and refuses to eat. He is consumed by his desire for the property. Is this greed, envy, or pride (in thinking because he is king he should have want he wants)? When his wife Jezebel hears of this, she has Naboth stoned to death based on false accusations simply so Ahab could obtain the property. Clearly, her sin is based in power.

The topic I want to turn to is “ancestral heritage.” Naboth refused to sell the property because it was his “ancestral heritage.” This would mean that it had been in his family for some generations.

Think about a family who has lived in the same home for generations. What gives the property its real value to the family? Is it the land? How about the house? Perhaps, but not in the material value. If the property has been in the family for generations is it not often the stories and the memories that are more valuable than the material value?

Where do we find the stories of God’s family? Is it not in the Bible? The Bible tells the story of Salvation History. The Bible tells the story of life between God and his people. It tells the story of God’s relationship with his people. However, it is not just their story. It is our story. We are all God’s people. The Bible tells the story of our ancestral heritage. How well do you know our heritage?


Fr. Jeff

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