Sunday Gospel Reflection
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Luke 12:13-21 | July 31, 2022
Claud Cellan, Ministry of Lectors and Commentators
At this age, I am already thinking of what to do when I retire. That will be after another 30 years, under normal circumstances, but options are really limited when I am already 60. Even if we have all the free time in our old age, we cannot do a lot of things freely, and we cannot even be with our loved ones as often as we want. This is why recently I made up my mind that I want to retire early. Early retirement is something that probably most of the current working population dream of. Several friends and colleagues of mine also want to relax and enjoy the fruit of their hard work as early as possible, and you probably also have that same desire. Thus, we strive so hard to store up wealth as quickly as possible to feel “secured” at an earlier age.
In today’s Gospel (Lk 12:13-21), Jesus warned a rich man who had a bountiful harvest against greed. The rich man told himself that it was time for him to “rest, eat, drink, be merry” since he already had so many good things stored up for many years.
Am I that man that Jesus warned in the parable? Yes, and also all of us.
Human that we are, we need to work hard to provide for ourselves and family. Yes, we deserve to reward ourselves with our hard-earned money—to rest, eat, drink, and be merry. Many of us are driven by the desire to accumulate earthly treasures to live a good life. Is that bad? Not necessarily, but Jesus reminds us that one’s life does not consist of possessions. One does not need to be rich on earth to live a good life.
Yes, money, power, and other material possessions make us feel some level of security. But isn’t it ironic that these are also reasons for insecurity? We become anxious of the possibility of losing them because they can be taken away from us—anytime, like a “thief in the night.” Many fear losing them, and some are even tempted to do evil just to protect their possessions. While it is not necessarily bad to store up treasures on earth, Jesus warns us to take care to guard against all greed, to put away immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and idolatry. (See also St. Paul’s admonition in the Second Reading – Col 3:1-5, 9-11)
Unlike earthly investments, investing on heavenly treasures—on what matters to God—is a never-ending work. One cannot relax and say, “I’ve loved God and my neighbor enough already; I’ve done enough good, now I can rest.” Rather, it is a never-ending journey, and God’s love is our reward. In fact, He already rewarded us, He loved us before we knew Him. He loves the world even if it is full of sin, and He keeps waiting for us to return to Him. If we store up heavenly treasures, nobody can take them away from us; and whether we wake up tomorrow or leave peacefully tonight, we reap our reward of forever being with God. Isn’t that what real security feels like?