July 31, 2016 — Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
In the Parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus 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.” (Lk 12:15). Most of the Parables shared by the Lord in Holy Scripture address the issue of possessions and how we treat them, how we use them as a measurement of success. Consistently those who write about the challenges we face in living lives of stewardship point to this same problem. Jesus certainly understood it.
Christ was living in a society that was very different from that we experience today, but that basic difficulty existed then, as it does now. The problem is not that possessions exist, but that they can become the dominant motivation in our lives and how we live them.
The Lord cautions us, as He does in the Parable of the Rich Fool from today’s Gospel, that storing up treasure and possessions means that we may be wealthy in the eyes of society, but not in “what matters to God.” This is one of our ongoing stumbling blocks to being stewards living a Christian life.
Our Holy Father Pope Francis speaks often about this same problem. In a recent homily he said, “True joy does not come from things or from possessing. It is born from the relationship with others; it is born from feeling accepted, understood, and loved, and from accepting, understanding, and loving. It is saying to one another, ‘You are important to me,’ not ‘What you have is important to me.’ Possessions are nothing but an illusion.”