Living by Faith not by Greed, Monday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time (I), October 21, 2013

Fr. Roger J. Landry
St. Bernadette Parish, Fall River, MA
Monday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time, Year I
October 21, 2013
Rom 4:20-25, Lk 1, Lk 12:13-21

To listen to an audio recording of today’s homily, please click below: 

 

The following points were attempted in the homily:

  • There’s a huge contrast in today’s readings between Abraham, the richness of whose faith St. Paul presents in the first reading, and the rich man in the parable presented by Jesus in the Gospel. It’s an opportunity for us to ponder whether we’re more like Abraham, living by faith in God, or more like the parable protagonist (and real-life brother whose question led to the parable), living by faith in money and material possessions.
  • Even though Abraham was very wealthy, with flocks and lands, he was willing to uproot himself from Ur of the Chaldeans to follow the Lord wherever he led him. The foundation of his life was God, not what he owned. He was “empowered by faith,” St. Paul tells us, “and gave glory to God.”
  • In the Gospel, Jesus meets a man who is allowing his greed to divide him from his brother over an inheritance dispute. Jesus shouts out, “Beware of all greed” and gives a parable of a man who sought to build the foundation of his life on his property and increase his own glory. “Building bigger grain bins” is a perpetual problem afflicting man’s spirit. Today it’s seen fundamentally in the culture of the “storage unit,” when people have too much stuff and rather than give it away as a good Christian should give away what he doesn’t need, they store it, just in case they “might” need it one day later, or so that they can perhaps make money off of it in a yard sale or on eBay. We all still need to beware of greed.
  • Pope Francis has said repeatedly that one of the main spiritual cancers facing the world is the “ferocious idolatry of money.” Money is the new golden calf that we worship, and once we give in to the love of money that St. Paul calls the root of all evil, it ends up leading to using other people as means to acquisition and discarding them if they’re not profitable for us or society. Greed, or the insatiable desire for money and material possessions, can divide many couples, families, communities and nations. Today in the Gospel we see how it was dividing brothers from each other. The brother who asked the question was willing to risk his bond with the brother in order to obtain money. He thought he was motivated by a sense of justice, but instead he was motivated fundamentally by greed. Pope Francis said this morning, “This is a day-to-day problem. How many families have we seen destroyed by the problem of money? Brother against brother, father against son. This is the first result that this attitude of being attached to money does: it destroys! When a person is attached to money, he destroys himself, he destroys his family. … Money serves to bring about many good things, so many works for human development, but when your heart is attached in this way, it destroys you.”
  • The Gospel verse today focused on another way of life, a path taken by Abraham, by the Blessed Virgin, by Christ himself and the saints. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To seek heaven, we must be poor in spirit, detached from the things of the world. If we’re rich in spirit or greedy, the kingdom of heaven is less important for us than our own kingdom.
  • We’re called to learn from Jesus who even though he was rich, become poor so that by his poverty we might become rich. Likewise, for us to become “rich in what matters to God,” we must follow Jesus down this path, impoverishing ourselves by giving ourselves and what we have to seeking God’s glory and building up his kingdom. We’re stewards, not owners, of everything God has given us, and he wants us to store up treasure in heaven by generously giving it away as divine almoners.
  • The way we learn how to follow Jesus in self-emptying to build God’s glory and make others rich is here at Mass, where Jesus gives all for us. When we really grasp what he’s doing, it becomes much easier for us to give all for him and others. This is where we are empowered by faith and learn, as we’ll pray in the doxology later, how “through, with and in” Christ, to give “all glory and honor” to God our all powerful Father.

The readings for today’s Mass were: 

Reading 1
ROM 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
LK 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. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
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. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.
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. Blessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people.

Gospel
LK 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.”