Monday, 29th Week in Ordinary Time
Jesus, in today’s gospel reading, issues a stern warning against greed: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” And then he tells the parable of the rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He built bigger barns to store his grain and other goods. Not only does he put his trust in his possessions, but he is ready to use them exclusively for his own benefit. (Gustavo Gutierrez) He says to himself, “Rest, eat, drink, and be merry!” But, just when he figured that he was super secure for the future, he died!
“One’s life does not consist of possessions” can be paraphrased this way: “One’s life does not consist of piling up possessions; it does not consist of storing up material goods; it does not consist of having big bank accounts; it does not consist of making profitable investments; it does not consist of making a killing in the stock market.” The Lord is warning us against greed, avarice, covetousness…the desire to possess more than we need. Having things more than we can use.
According to G.K. Chesterton, there are two ways to get enough: One is to accumulate more and more and the other is to desire less and less. Would you prefer working to death to have “more of more” but never feel satisfied? Or would you rather desire less, learn to be contented, be happy with what you already have? Someone said, “Life is tragic for the person who has plenty to live on but nothing to live for.”
We have to clarify, though, that the gospel warning against ‘stockpiling’ is not about the necessary savings we need to educate our children or to provide for the security of our retirement. We are talking about excessive savings that reflect a lack of trust in God, a basic greed in our attitude and callous heart to the poor.
St. Jerome, in one of his letters, mentions about a woman “who preferred to store her money in the stomachs of the needy than in her purse.” It is all right to make investments, as long as we understand that the best investment that we can make is in the kingdom of God.
Let us store our money in the way St. Jerome tells us…Let us invest in the kingdom of God…Let us be rich in what matters to God.