17th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17 (95:8)
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
July 31, 2022
Many people had come to Jesus for healing or to be freed from demons.
Today someone offers a different request, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
Does Jesus help this person? Jesus is not concerned with such earthly matters. Jesus did not come to arbitrate earthly matters. Jesus is concerned with spiritual matters. He is concerned with our salvation.
Thus, He told the man, “Take care to guard against all greed.” Greed is a concern for earthly wealth. As Paul writes, we need to “put to death” the parts of us “that are earthly” including greed.
Jesus says, “One’s life does not consist of possessions.” To help us understand this, He tells the parable of the “rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.”
Did the man express gratitude for the bountiful harvest? No. His concern is what he will do with it because his barns are not big enough to store it all.
He could have given the extra harvest away. He does not. Instead, he tears his old barns down to build larger ones to keep it for himself. He thinks he is set for many years.
What he does not know is that he will die that night. His possessions will no longer matter to him.
We do not know when we will die. So, we need to be prepared. When a harvest comes, we need to save a proper amount based on our need. It would be prudent to save enough at least to the next harvest.
How much do we need? How much do we want?
Why work to build up more than we need only to keep it in storage? When the harvest is bountiful is it not better to share it with others? What good does all our hard work do if our possessions rot in storage?
Of course, one can talk about planning for a rainy day. In biblical times, this would be storing enough grain in case there is a famine. In today’s world, it might include planning for retirement.
I can’t tell you how much is appropriate to save. What I can say is don’t be greedy about it. We should also not save for tomorrow at the expense of today. What good does it do to work long and hard hours to save for retirement if it costs us our family and a good life now? We need to find a balance.
Today’s psalm speaks of those things “which at dawn springs up anew; but by evening wilts and fades.” Worldly possessions come and go.
Likewise, we need to live in the moment for what is truly important. We need to “seek what is above…Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” Earthly things have their importance. We need some food but how much and how fancy? We need a place to live but how big and how fancy? What good is a big fancy home if we have to work so hard and long to have it that we lose our soul?
Are we rich in “what matters to God?”
What matters to God? Our eternal soul. Our faith. Our love for God and for our neighbor.
God invites us to take off our old self, our human self, that is focused on earthly matters and to put on a new self that is focused on the things that are above.
Have you taken off your earthly self? If not, what are you holding on to? Ask God to help you let go of it, to focus on the treasure that God offers us in eternity with him.