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.”
A favorite contemporary singer-songwriter of mine is Greg Brown. His blues and folk tunes tell down-to-earth stories. In one of his songs entitled “The Cheapest Kind,” Brown sings a first-person account of a man who grew up as the son of a preacher. The family was poor, and they traveled about the country preaching the Good News. Their poverty led the parents to reluctantly settle for always buying the “cheapest kind” of food or clothing. But Brown sings that the love in that family wasn’t cheap: It was rather, what made them truly rich.
His song comes to mind as I reflect on today’s Gospel. Jesus invites us to ponder what are the true riches in human life. In the story Jesus tells, the man whose barn is bursting with an abundant harvest plans on building bigger barns. He believes he’s totally self-sufficient with all that stored-up wealth.
Jesus teaches that those who rely solely on material goods and allow them to control their existence to the point of greed and possessiveness are storing up treasures that will not last. It’s being “rich in what matters to God” that is true wealth in the Kingdom. Examine your heart this Sunday. Have you focused on material goods, treasures that will not last? Or have you allowed God to fill you with love—with wealth of the “richest kind”?
The first reading feels gloomy. It suggests that there is no point in working hard or trying to build a better life for one’s children. What profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored?
This reading seems to say that everything is pointless, that life goes on and on in an endless round of work. Can only adults with a lifetime of experience understand these sayings?
What could this reading mean to a youngster?
In the second reading, why does St. Paul think we should focus on life in heaven, not on earth? Didn’t St. Paul work as a tentmaker so that he could make a living?
Paul says forget what is evil and put on Christ. Does that mean doing everything that Jesus did?
This week's Gospel has someone requesting of Jesus, “Tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” That causes Jesus to warn against greed, for he said, “though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of riches.” Do you ever wish that you had more money? A bigger house? New fancy clothes?
What is the point of the parable that Jesus told about the rich man who had so much stuff that he decided to build bigger barns to store all his harvests?
by Susan Hines-Brigger
Take some time to go through items you own, such as toys or clothes, and see if there is anything you no longer need or want. Donate those items to a local charity or organization.
Make a list of all the blessings you have in your life. Together as a family, compare the lists and discuss ways in which you can share some of those blessings with others. For instance, if you are blessed with being able to receive a good education, perhaps when you go school supply shopping you can buy extra to donate to a local school where children are not as fortunate.