Dear friends in Christ,
The Gospel for this Sunday presents us with a message that I think all of us can take to prayer, particularly as we live in a land of unfathomable material prosperity. Material riches are nothing if we are spiritually poor. This is at the heart of Jesus’ parable. A rich man receives a windfall and instead of giving it to the poor or investing in a manner which can help his community, he simply tears down his barns and makes larger ones. How often do we do this? Do we allow ourselves to accumulate things we don’t really need? Do we let our bank accounts and IRAs get bigger and bigger without considering that our excess wealth actually belongs to the poor?
Jesus uses strong words in the parable, as he always does when speaking about the obligations of those with wealth to the poor and suffering. The rich man is told, “you fool, this night your life will be demanded of you. And all these things you have stored up, whose will they be?” The good news is that no matter how much or little we have, God gives us the grace to be a blessing to others. Whatever we have – whether money, talents, property – are meant to be used to raise others up. In this way, we learn to rely not on ourselves, but instead to remember that God is never outdone in generosity.
Dear friends, embracing a spirit of gratuitousness, which values relationships with God and our brothers and sisters over material goods, requires a radical commitment to prayer. It is certainly not the secret to getting rich – which is why ideas about a “prosperity Gospel” from some other Christian groups are simply wrong. The goal of our lives is so much greater than having a large bank account; it is an eternal sharing in the very life of the Triune God. When we focus on storing up treasures in heaven, it is then that we know how to use the things God has given us on earth.
May God be Blessed!
–Father Eric Banecker