Jesus Christ wants us to know that the things of the world we so often desire, choose, and treasure are not at all what matter to God or, ultimately, to our immortal souls
Reflections on the readings for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (July 31, 2022): ECC 1:2;2:21-23; PS 90:3-4,5-6,12-13,14,17; COL 3:1-5,9-11; LK 12:13-21
MISSIO offers “Mission In Scripture” to nurture a missionary heart, providing reflections on the missionary themes in the readings of Sundays, Feast Days and Holy Days.
‘What matters to us? Is it treasure that is human or divine? Is it the treasure that comes from grasping things for our own benefit here and now?
In both the Old Testament and the Gospel readings today we are asked to think about the very essence of life and death and what really matters. And this necessitates our contemplation of all things from God’s point of view as well as our own. “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2) This phrase is not simply addressing pride and admiration for our own person, although that is part of it. Basically, it expresses the emptiness of all and anything that is not of God. The Gospel reading starts out with Jesus addressing a crowd and having somebody calling on Him to arbitrate the settlement of an inheritance with his brother. Instead, Christ warns His listeners about greed and assures them that life is not made of possessions. Then He tells them what is known as the Parable of the Rich Fool. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. … 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!’” (Luke 12:16,18-19). The story ends by God telling the man that his life will be demanded of him that very night and asking him who will then own the great possessions that mean so much to him. Jesus obviously did not want to leave the crowd in any doubt about the meaning of this parable. Those who store up riches for themselves but not what is precious in the eyes of God will face this same end.
We can and should ask ourselves the same thing. What matters to us? Is it treasure that is human or divine? Is it the treasure that comes from grasping things for our own benefit here and now? Or the eternal riches of generously sharing our time, talent, and, yes, treasure with those in need? We know what God wants from us: to offer the people in our lives and even around the world the same mercy and compassion we want from Him. We need to choose what matters each day.
Suggested missionary action: Today, we can give thanks to God for all He gives us, not just materially, but in bountiful grace and mercy. There’s a phrase we do not seem to hear much these days: “Count your blessings!” Let’s start there.