Daily Reflection – July 31, 2016
Sunday 31 July 2016
First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge
Psalm 89(90):3-6, 12-14, 17
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Gospel Reading: Luke 12:13-21
Today’s Note: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And 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!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”
Be on your guard against all kinds of greed
In Luke 10:38-42, the Gospel Reading for the Sixteenth Sunday, we heard Martha ask Jesus to sort things out with her sister, Mary. Jesus’ response is to invite Martha, gently but firmly, to reflect on herself. In today’s Gospel, ‘someone in the crowd’ asks Jesus to sort things out with his brother for not dividing ‘the family inheritance’ with him (see Luke 12:13-21). Again, Jesus invites the man to think about his own life and what he really values.
Jesus has not come among us as a problem solver or even as a moralist. He does not tell us the way, He is the way. He is the embodiment of God in our midst. He offers us his very life that we too might live beyond the superficial and the insubstantial, that we might become who we are as God’s creation through him, with him and in him.
In order to receive what is on offer here, we must choose to respond, making ourselves available, getting out of the way, as Meister Eckhart says. And greed certainly gets in the way!
In the Book of Acts, Luke notes that ‘the whole group of believers was united, heart and soul; no one claimed for his own anything that he had, as everything they owned was held in common’ (Luke 4:32). This description of the first believers in Acts remains to this day a primary reference point and even a template for Christian living. St Clement of Rome – referred to by both Irenaeus and Tertullian as Bishop of Rome (88-99) – wrote: “In Christ Jesus, then, we must preserve this corporate body of ours in its entirety. We must each be subject to our neighbour, according to our special gifts. The strong are not to ignore the weak, and the weak should respect the strong. The rich must provide for the poor, and the poor should thank God for giving them someone to meet their needs.” (St Clement of Rome, 1 Corinthians 38:1-2).
A story from the Desert Fathers is instructive: “One of the monks called Serapion, sold his book of the Gospels and gave the money to those who were hungry, saying: ‘I have sold the book which told me to sell all that I had and give to the poor’.” (Thomas Merton, The Wisdom of the Desert, New Directions 1960, 37).