31 July 2010

'One's life does not consist of possessions'. 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C, 1 August 2010

Christ as Saviour, El Greco, c.1600

Gospel (RSV, Catholic Edition) Lk 12:13-21

One of the multitude said to Jesus, "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" And he said to them, "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' And he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."


One thing that the gospel says to me is that I should be constantly thanking God for everything. There is nothing I have that isn't a gift from God, life itself, faith, my vocation to be a priest, my family, my friends, my daily bread.

When I was growing up in Ireland people constantly said 'Thank God', especially in the context of hearing of the recovery, for example, of someone who had been ill, or someone rescued from a dangerous situation. A more emphatic expression, especially when it comes from the heart, is 'Thanks be to God!' When people asked 'How are you?' we'd often reply 'I'm fine, thank God'.

Filipinos do the same. I remember twenty years ago giving enough money to buy a meal to a woman and her daughter of about 13 who clearly were tired and hungry. The girl looked at me with the most beautiful smile I've ever seen and said 'Salamat sa Ginoo!' 'Thanks to the Lord!' She didn't thank me but rather invited me to join her and her mother in thanking God for being blessed with enough to buy their next meal.

The man in the parable didn't see things as that young girl did.

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