HOMILY FOR TODAY: MONDAY 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR A
BY: FR. KARABARI PAUL
THEME: INGRATITUDE AND GREED
‘So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God’
In today’s Gospel (Luke 12:13-21) a man came up to Jesus and said, “Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.” Jesus saw that his words revealed his heart. The man’s heart problem was not his brother’s greed, but his own greed. Yes, the brother may have also been greedy, and Jesus’ parable was not just directed to the man, but to “them,” which probably included the brother along with the whole crowd. But this man had his focus on getting what he wanted in this world. Jesus showed him that his true need was to be ready for the next world. So the Lord refused to take the role of judge between the man and his brother. Instead, He showed the man how to be really rich, namely, how to be rich toward God.
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First Jesus issued a strong warning against greed. “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” Then, He told a parable to drive home the point. Jesus’ warning indicates that we need constant vigilance to keep this enemy of the soul at bay. It won’t happen accidentally. If you do not post a guard all day, every day, greed will creep in unawares and get a stranglehold on your life.
We all have a choice about how to invest our lives. The choice, simply put, is: Greed or God? It’s more realistic to say that we can serve God and at the same time try to get rich. But Jesus drew the line plainly when He said, “You cannot serve God and mammon” (Luke 16:13). He did not say, “should not,” but “cannot.” It is an impossibility to serve both masters at the same time. You must choose one or the other.
In Mark 4:19, Jesus said that the thorns that gradually grow up and choke out the word are “the worries of the world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things.” Greed often isn’t a deliberate choice. Rather, it creeps up around us without our realizing it. It gets a slow stranglehold on our lives, like thorns growing up around a healthy plant.
The man in the parable saw himself as the owner of all that he had. Did you notice the prominence of the first person pronoun in his speech? Six times he says “I,” without any regard for God. He refers to my crops, my barns, my grain, my goods, and, most frighteningly of all, my soul. He would have been in harmony with the proud and defiant words of William Henley’s “Invictus,” “I am the master of my fate; I am the captain of my soul.”
The Bible declares, “The earth is the Lord’s, and all it contains, the world, and those who dwell in it” (Ps. 24:1). God rightfully owns the whole works! If He lets us use any of it, He still retains the ownership and we will give an account to Him of how we used it as stewards. Our lives are not our own. We have been bought with a price. We belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. If He has given you health, you will give an account to Him for how you managed your healthy body. If He has given you intelligence, He will demand an account of how you used it for His purposes. If He entrusts material goods and money to you, someday you will answer for how you invested it in light of eternity.
The greedy man is proud. If you asked this man, “How did you get all this wealth?” he would have answered, “I got it all by hard work, using my head, and I had a little luck with the weather.” But he wouldn’t have acknowledged God’s grace as the source of it. The greedy man is self-sufficient. His confidence was in his many barns full of produce, not in God’s care. The greedy man is his own lord. He asks himself, “What shall I do?” He proudly declares, “This is what I will do.” He does not ask, “Lord, what would You have me to do?” GOD IS STILL ON THE THRONE. May God have mercy on us, heal our world, bless and protect us all through Christ our Lord Amen. Good morning
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