There is no trace of greed in Jesus, and he is most rich in what matters to God.
Jesus refuses to intervene in an inheritance dispute. Perhaps he does not want to do something that others may misconstrue as softness with those who love money. What is certain, however, is that right away he teaches a lesson on the folly of greed and the wisdom of being rich before God. He thus offers a radical solution to disputes.
The lesson makes much sense in the light of the recounted parable. Would not all the toil of someone given to accumulating wealth turn out to be “vanity and a great misfortune” if he does not get to enjoy his possessions because he dies suddenly? In the face of the inevitability and unpredictability of death, we have to recognize that the meaning of life does not lie in our gains or goods.
Yes, Jesus unambiguously states that the affluent who think that life consists of possessions are empty and senseless. Such a statement is even more convincing because he lives up to it. He chooses for himself a way of life much different from that of the hoarders who do not care about those in misery.
Jesus becomes poor for the sake of the poor.
He has nowhere to lay his head. He only brings the essentials as he makes the rounds of towns and villages. Renouncing all self-sufficiency, he begs for food, looks for those who may welcome him and knocks on doors.
And this itinerant Evangelizer is not discouraged when he runs right into the wall of rejection. That is why he can teach us with all simplicity and spontaneity: “Ask and you will receive; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.”
Nailed to the cross even and feeling forsaken by God, he clings to him just the same. He is obedient to death. Because of this God greatly exalts him and bestows on him the name that is above every name. God declares Jesus rich before him.
If we Christians want to be rich before God, we have to be poor before our fellow human beings.
We will work with Jesus in serving the poor, offering our body and blood to those who hunger and thirst for justice. And since they represent to us God’s Son, they too can teach us to be poor and to practice the true religion (SV.EN XI:26, 190)
We will not be like the rich man who says to himself, “Men will praise me for all my success.” Nor shall we drink in the words of those who trust in their wealth and boast of their riches. We will always remember: “In his riches, man lacks wisdom; he is like the beasts that are destroyed.” We will seek what is above.
Lord Jesus, teach us to be rich with your poverty.
July 31, 2016
18th Sunday in O.T. (C)
Eccl 1, 2; 2, 21-23; Col 3, 1-5. 9-11; Lk 12, 13-31