Our readings today give us a very challenging message, I ask you to take a moment now and ask that the Holy Spirit will open and convict your heart as He desires.
Our Gospel begins, “Someone from the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me’”. So we have 2 people, the person asking from the crowd and the brother. If we reflect though, chances are most of us are like one of these 2 people.
First the brother, wanting all of the inheritance for himself, doesn’t want to share any of it. This kind of person is one who is only looking out for him/herself and doesn’t have much of a concern for others, let alone a sibling. This brother, using our Gospel analogy, is certainly storing up for himself treasures on this earth. And once his storage on this earth is full, he builds larger ones, because what he has is never enough. He is always going after that higher status. Maybe you are like this brother in some ways in your life.
Secondly, we have the person crying out from the crowd, for the sake of conversation let’s say he’s a man, though, especially today, could be a woman. This man is crying out to Jesus wanting to get what is owed to him. It is probable that this person has exhausted every other means to get his share of the inheritance. Maybe he has gone to his brother, then to his father, mother. Maybe he has asked a judge to render a just decision, maybe he has sought the attention of rabbis, all to no avail. Now after he’s exhausted all other sources he is calling out from the crowd to Jesus, whom he probably sees as another religious leader. Spending so much energy and attention, just trying to get what is fair, what is owed to him. This person calling out from the crowd is like the person spoken of in our 1st reading, “For what profit comes to a man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun? All his days, sorrow and grief is his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest”. There is nothing wrong with trying to get what is owed to you, it is OK to fight for justice and fairness. However, justice, fairness, getting what is owed to him, has consumed this person. Has it consumed you?
To this person crying out to from the crowd, Jesus answers, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions”. Do you see that by consuming himself entirely of getting his share of the inheritance, that he too was consumed by greed, he too was wanting to store up for himself treasure on earth? To want justice, to fight what is rightfully owed to you, can be a good thing, and if we think about it chances are most of us are this way, we just have to guard against it consuming us.
How many of you have been consumed by the pursuit of money? Been consumed by your status at work, and pursuing the higher and higher status? If so, is it really worth it? How many have been overly anxious and worried about if you have stored up enough in your savings account? How many have focused yourself on getting that one thing, that one toy, you can enjoy on this earth? Parents, would your kids say that you are overly concerned about them getting straight A’s and stuffing their resumes, just to be able to get into the best college, so that they can get the best job with the highest salary?
Now I am not saying that having enough money, or getting good grades in school is not important. I am not saying that we should not enjoy fun toys on this earth, but it seems to me God is saying is they should not be most important, those things should not consume us. Perhaps to us, to those parts of our lives, God is saying, ‘What profit comes to a person from all the toil and anxiety of heart’, what profit is there for those who store up for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God”.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, do you see that your life is rich in what matters to God, is your life hidden in Christ and focused on God’s presence in all you do? Are you storing up for yourself treasures in Heaven or on earth? Is your heart seeking what is above and not what is on earth? We are called to consume our hearts and our entire lives with God, to put him first of all, and trust our entire livelihood to our Heavenly Father’s love and providence for us.
The other day I was driving back from lunch with a couple of staff members, and I don’t remember how we got on the topic if we had a million dollars. I asked them, if they were to win the lottery if they would still be work here? I know I would still be a priest. Well I was happy to hear that they honestly thought they would. Now I like to think it is because I am such a great Pastor, but seriously I though, I know it is because their lives are focused on God. They see their job, as a way to serve God and his people. Do you see your job that way? You can, and are called to, that is what is meant by having your life hidden in Christ. No matter what you do, no matter how you make your living, you are called to put God first and see that that is where God is calling you to serve Him and His people. You are called to store up treasures in Heaven by the way you interact with others, as you are working to earn a living or to make ends meet.
Finally, I want to challenge you, to look at your check book and savings account, does it reflect that you are putting God first and storing up treasures in Heaven? Are you tithing, are you tithing a full 10% in service to God and His people? Will you grow towards that goal? Our God will never forsake us, if we put Him first and trust Him with everything, then we will have everything we need on this earth and our treasure will be great in Heaven.BACK TO LIST