Posted by: RAM | October 19, 2014

Monday (October 20): “Our life does not consist in the abundance of possessions”

Mabuhay at Mabuting Balita!
Month of the Most Holy Rosary
Monday of the Twenty-Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
67 Days Before Christmas
87 Days Before the Visit of Pope Francis to the Philippines
 

First Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10
Psalms 100:2-5: The Lord made us, we belong to him.
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.” http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/102014.cfm

Reflection:  Have you ever tried to settle a money dispute or an inheritance issue? Inheritance disputes are rarely ever easy to resolve, especially when the relatives or close associates of the deceased benefactor cannot agree on who should get what and who should get the most. Why did Jesus refuse to settle an inheritance dispute between two brothers? He saw that the heart of the issue was not justice or fairness but rather greed and possessiveness.

The ten commandments were summarized into two prohibitions – do not worship false idols and do not covet what belongs to another. It’s the flip side of the two great commandments – love God and love your neighbor. Jesus warned the man who wanted  half of his brother’s inheritance to “beware of all covetousness.”  To covet is to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge what God has given to another. Jesus restates the commandment “do not covet”, but he also states that a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of his or her possessions.

August of Hippo (354-430 AD) comments on Jesus’ words to the brother who wanted more:

Greed wants to divide, just as love desires to gather. What is the significance of “guard against all greed,” unless it is “fill yourselves with love”? We, possessing love for our portion, inconvenience the Lord because of our brother just as that man did against his brother, but we do not use the same plea. He said, “Master, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” We say, “Master, tell my brother that he may have my inheritance.” [Sermon 265.9]

Jesus reinforces his point with a parable about a foolish rich man. Why does Jesus call this wealthy landowner a fool? Jesus does not fault the rich man for his industriousness and skill in acquiring wealth, but rather for his egoism and selfishness – it’s mine, all mine, and no one else’s. This parable is similar to the parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the beggar Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31). The rich fool had lost the capacity to be concerned for others. His life was consumed with his possessions and his only interests were in himself. His death was the final loss of his soul!

In the parable of the rich fool Jesus gives a lesson on using material possessions. It is in giving that we receive. Those who are rich towards God receive ample reward – not only in this life – but in eternity as well.

Cyril of Alexandria, a fifth century church father, comments on Jesus’ word to be rich toward God:

It is true that a person’s life is not from one’s possessions or because of having an overabundance. He who is rich toward God is very blessed and has glorious hope. Who is he? Evidently, one who does not love wealth but rather loves virtue, and to whom few things are sufficient. It is one whose hand is open to the needs of the poor, comforting the sorrows of those in poverty according to his means and the utmost of his power. He gathers in the storehouses that are above and lays up treasures in heaven. Such a one shall find the interest of his virtue and the reward of his right and blameless life.[Commentary on Luke, Homily 89]

In this little parable Jesus probes our heart – where is your treasure? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. What do you treasure above all else?

“Lord Jesus, free my heart from all possessiveness and from coveting what belongs to another. May I desire you alone as the one true treasure worth possessing above all else. Help me to make good use of the material blessings you give me that I may use them generously for your glory and for the good of others.”  http://www.rc.net/wcc/readings/oct20.htm http://www.dailyscripture.net author Don Schwager © 2014 Servants of the Word

Saint of the Day: Blessed Paul VI (1897-1978)

Born near Brescia in northern Italy, Giovanni Battista Montini was the second of three sons. His father, Giorgio, was a lawyer, editor, and eventually a member of the Italian Chamber of Deputies. His mother, Giuditta, was very involved in Catholic Action.

After ordination in 1920, Giovanni did graduate studies in literature, philosophy, and canon law in Rome before he joined the Vatican Secretariat of State in 1924, where he worked for 30 years. He was also chaplain to the Federation of Italian Catholic University Students, where he met and became a very good friend of Aldo Moro, who eventually became prime minister (1963-68 and 1974-76). Moro was kidnapped by the Red Brigade in March 1978 and murdered two months later. A devastated Pope Paul VI presided at his funeral.

In 1954, Montini was named archbishop of Milano, where he sought to win disaffected workers back to the Catholic Church. He called himself the “archbishop of the workers” and visited factories regularly while overseeing the rebuilding of a local Church tremendously disrupted by World War II.

In 1958, Montini was the first of 23 cardinals named by St. John XXIII (October 11), two months after the latter’s election as pope. Cardinal Montini helped in preparing Vatican II and participated enthusiastically in its first sessions. When he was elected pope in June 1963, he immediately decided to continue that Council, which had another three before its conclusion on December 8, 1965. He worked very hard to ensure that bishops would approve the Council’s 16 documents by overwhelming majorities. Pope Paul VI stunned the world by visiting the Holy Land in January 1964 and meeting Athenagoras, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The pope made eight more international trips, including one in 1965 to visit New York City and speak on behalf of peace before the United Nations General Assembly. He also visited India, Columbia, Uganda, and seven Asian countries during a 10-day visit in 1970.

He instituted the World Synod of Bishops (1965) and the next year decreed that bishops must offer their resignations on reaching 75. In 1970, he decided that cardinals over 80 would no longer vote in papal conclaves or head the Holy See’s major offices. He had increased the number of cardinals tremendously, giving many countries their first cardinal. Eventually establishing diplomatic relations between the Holy See and 40 countries, he also instituted a permanent observer mission at the United Nations (1964). Pope Paul wrote seven encyclicals; his last one on human life (1968) prohibited artificial birth control.

He died at Castel Gandolfo on August 6, 1978, buried in St. Peter’s Basilica, and was beatified on October 19, 2014. http://www.americancatholic.org/features/saints/saint.aspx?id=1999&calendar=1

More Saints of the Day

Let me be the change I want to be. Even if I am not the light, I can be the spark. RAM

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