Being Rich And Wise Before God
Abraham was saved because he believed God and trusted him. Likewise, we will be saved because we believe, and the core of our faith is that Jesus was handed over to death because of our sins and was raised from the dead for our justification or salvation.
When Jesus speaks out against the rich, he does not intend to condemn them but to liberate them. What he denounces is not the fact that they have material goods, but their own attachment to them and the use they make of their riches: for hoarding, for selfish enjoyment, or – as some rich countries do – stockpiling wheat in silos or using oil for economic and political pressure. The value of possessions is relative to the goods of the kingdom, to justice and love. What counts is to be rich and wise before God.
1 Reading: Romans 4:20-25
Brothers and sisters: Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief; rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God and was fully convinced that what God had promised he was also able to do. That is why it was credited to him as righteousness. But it was not for him alone that it was written that it was credited to him; it was also for us, to whom it will be credited, who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over for our transgressions and was raised for our justification.
Responsorial Psalm: Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
R. (see 68) Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
He has come to his people and set them free.
He has raised up for us a mighty savior,
born of the house of his servant David. R.
Through his holy prophets he promised of old
that he would save us from our enemies,
from the hands of all who hate us.
He promised to show mercy to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant. R.
This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham:
to set us free from the hands of our enemies,
free to worship him without fear,
holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. R.
Alleluia: Matthew 5:3
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Blessed are the poor in spirit;
for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.
Gospel: 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 the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”
Many of the parables of Jesus, coming from a diverse time and culture, need some explanation. Today’s is one that clearly does not. Its meaning is immediately evident and its truth borne out by experience.
Jesus is asked to settle an inheritance dispute. Wisely he refrains from any involvement but does give an injunction against greed.
The account is of the man who did everything to prepare for a relaxed retirement by multiplying his holdings and increasing his storage space. But then suddenly his life comes to an end, and all these preparations passed to someone else’s hands. The story may be old, but the situation is as relevant as today. It seems so frequent that people who have prepared for a comfortable retirement are suddenly taken ill, and taken from our midst. Certainly it is not always a case of abundant holdings, nor is it always a question of greed. But it is a fact of life.
Paul today reminds us of our greatest treasure. We have been credited with justice—the most important reality of our life— because of our faith in the One who died and rose again in order that our sins be blotted out and that we be sealed in the Holy Spirit. This is our inheritance, over which there can be no dispute. As for whatever possessions may be ours in life, we cannot take them with us.
“One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions,” is Jesus’ word to us today. It is not to have an abundance of goods that will bring us happiness, but the goods of the kingdom of God, to be good and wise and just. May almighty God bless you, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Amen!