Reflection on the Gospel of Luke 12: 13-21, Eighth Sunday after Pentecost July 31, 2022

Gospel of Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

Let us Pray: Creator God, you call us to love and serve you with body, mind, and spirit through loving your creation and our sisters and brothers. Open our hearts in compassion and receive our prayers on behalf of the needs of the church and the world. This we pray in your Name. Amen

How many times do we hear stories exactly like the one about the person who asked Jesus if he would tell his brother to divide the family inheritance? Only to see it go to a court settlement that may have cost a lot of time, money, and animosity between families. In today’s world, we are enticed on every front to accumulate wealth, possessions, and status, at a cost to friendship, and family. In today’s reading Jesus reminds us that when we die, our wealth, our possessions, and our status will not matter. The only criterion we will be judged on is whether we have worked to accumulate the riches only God can give. Today may be a good day to ask ourselves: Who and what is most important in my life?  Is it money, status, possessions, esteem?  Or is it the people that I love or the many individuals who are in need?  Do I strive to make a difference in our world by my love, care, and generosity?  Do I freely share the many gifts that God has given me? Think about how you would answer those questions and are you okay with your answers? If you aren’t okay, you need to think about how you can change. Jesus’s desire for us is that we seek holy and spiritual possessions. Despite unrelenting worldly influence, we can become closer to God by beginning now to collect spiritual treasures. This goal is not easy, as we must also allow change to begin long before our physical death. A sign that we are progressing along the path to holiness is knowing that others come first in our thoughts, prayer, compassion, mercy, encouragement, generosity, joy, and love.

What are the lessons we can learn from this Gospel?

Excessive desire for wealth or possessions is a common human problem

Take Excessive desire for wealth or possessions seriously. So, we must discern the things that may lead to this excessive desire and be alert to its early signs of taking root in our hearts.

Don’t place your value on material possession. Our life is not found in the material wealth that we possess. Christ was saying that we must NOT base the quality of our life on material wealth. Our life should not depend on these things. We must not let material wealth dictate whether we will be happy or not.

We must remember that while material wealth can help us achieve the goals in our lives, it should not be the ultimate goal. It should only be a TOOL for us to achieve the goal of being part of God’s Kingdom.

Our blessings come from the Almighty. We must recognize that it is not through our strength and abilities that we have acquired the blessings that we have. When we do this, we will be more grateful and divert our focus from ourselves to God and others.

Choose to be grateful. That’s one of the true marks of a man with excessive desires Instead of being thankful, he thinks of the blessing as a problem he must solve. Learn to be grateful.

Choose to be selfless. You must choose to be a blessing to others. Your main motivation to become rich should be so that God can use you as a channel to also bless others. You need to ask God to make you a blessing not only for yourself but for others.

True security is found in God. We must realize that our life is in the hands of God. All of us don’t have a guarantee if we are going to still be alive tomorrow, next week, next month, or next year. We must live our lives in such a way that we are always ready for Christ’s second coming. When we have this mindset, we don’t worry too much about coveting other people’s possessions.

True richness is found in God. They are the people who dedicate their lives to doing the work of God, fulfilling God’s purposes in their lives, and following His will. You see, there’s nothing wrong with having a dream, seeking to have a more comfortable life, and doing your best at your work. All these are good. However, the moment you let excessive desire possess you, you become covetous and that’s where the danger lies.

The search for wisdom, living in keeping with God’s will, ought to be the goal of our lives The Lord stores up sound wisdom for the righteous. This is a far better storehouse than silos full of more grain than one person could possibly use in a lifetime! Wisdom is frequently equated with a wealth that is more lasting and satisfying than gold, silver and jewels This wisdom is expressed as respect for the poor, who are, like the rich, children of God and whose advocate God is.

Remember, no amount of wealth can protect us from a genetically inherited disease, for instance, or from a tragic accident. No amount of wealth can keep our relationships healthy and our families from falling apart. In fact, wealth and property can easily drive a wedge between family members, as in the case of the brothers fighting over their inheritance at the beginning of this text.

Today and every day we are paving our road to heaven.  What is the path we will pave today by our choices?   Will Jesus approve of our path?  I pray so!

Let us pray: Generous God, in abundance you give us things both spiritual and physical. Help us to hold lightly the fading things of this earth and grasp tightly the lasting things of your kingdom, so that what we are and do and say may be our gifts to you through Christ, who beckons all to seek the things above, where he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit. Amen.

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