04 August 2019. Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (St. John Baptiste Marie Vianney Sunday)
Reflection (Sem. Gerald M. Moscardon)
Our modern culture today stresses the importance of the individual and his or her identity. The uniqueness and giftedness of every person are given great value and that is good because we are all created that way by our Creator who loves us and have made the rest of creation for us as a means to fulfill our end. But what is troubling in our times is the overemphasis on these gifts as something we “own”; something that is entirely ours; something we possess, to define who we are and then separates us from the rest who are not “like us”. If who we are and whose we are not clear to us, what we think we do not have, we “grab” in greed or possess driven by disordered desires and what we think we do have, will never ever satisfy us and so we possess more, thus being trapped in a vicious cycle of self-glorification and loss of identity. In other words, what we thought we possess defines who we are but in reality, they possess us and define who we are for us.
In the Gospel today, Jesus warns us against all kinds of greed for one’s life does not consist of possessions. He is aware of the tendency of men in “grabbing” instead of receiving the gifts that God provides and makes these gifts their own as if their lives depend on them. All that we are and all that we have come from the One who created us out of love. I can never say that what I have is “mine” or who I am is because of me. My “I am” only participates in the great “I AM” who is God. All I can do is to receive from the One who gives and never grab out of greed and more importantly, not to appropriate these gifts for my own. These gifts are meant to be shared with others for we, ourselves, are only shares of the Love that defines who we are and whose we are. We are beloved by God and we are gifted and blessed that make us unique individuals, but we must go beyond ourselves and be empowered to share our very selves as gifts for others, given freely and entirely out of love.
The Gospel Today
Luke 12: 13 – 21
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.”