Homily for the eighteenth Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 12:13-21
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
" One of the multitude said to Jesus, «Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.» But he said to him, «Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?» And he said to them, «Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.»
" And he told them a parable, saying, «The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, "What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?" And he said, "I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry." But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.» "
" One of the multitude said to Jesus, «Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.» But he said to him, «Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?» And he said to them, «Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.» "
Jesus continues his teaching. Let us remember that he is the Teacher, the one who teaches the Truth, because he can neither be deceived, nor deceive us. The one who has just asked Jesus a question hadn't forgotten this, because he says: "Teacher..." The Jews who interrogate Jesus, even though they want to put him to the test, don't forget that he is a Rabbi. But is he indeed a Rabbi? For where had he studied? No one knows. "Besides, can anything good come out of Nazareth?" (cf. John 1:46), thought the contemporaries of Jesus. Yet he is the Teacher to whom they put their questions. For the Spirit is at work! The Spirit is at work, showing everyone the supreme wisdom of the Teacher: "The Spirit of truth... will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you." (Jn. 16:14)
This, then, what is taught by the Teacher: "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." This means that riches are a good to which man must not be attached. Yes, the man who wants to serve the Lord must be like the holy Job, who said, after having lost everything, his possessions as well as his children: "The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD." (Job 1:21) We must endeavor, with the aid of God's grace, to establish ourselves in this spirit of indifference between on the one hand wanting and safeguarding such and such possessions, and on the other hand abandoning all that may become superfluous at such and such a time in our life.
All this is difficult... What will become of me if I no longer have this or that, if I can no longer do such a thing, if I am obligated to do this other thing that I don't wish to do? Such are many of the questions that we ask ourselves from time to time. But the grace of God is there, within our reach, very close to us. All that we must do to obtain it is to pray to the Lord, to the Most Holy Virgin Mary, to the Saints of Heaven, to all the Angels. And behold! God comes to help us to establish ourselves in a proper middle ground between too much and not enough: the grace of God helps us to remain steady and not to want, with an insatiable desire, all the riches of this world. Because the grace of God can do this, because it can do all things! «If you have faith as a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, "Move from here to there," and it will move; and nothing will be impossible to you.» (Mt. 17:20)
" And he told them a parable, saying, «The land of a rich man... But God said to him, "Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.» "
What a warning! "Fool! This night your soul is required of you." How can we not tremble before the imminence of God's Judgment: "This night..."? Yes! The Gospel is full of contrasts. First mercy, then fear. We need both of these. Jesus, our Teacher, knows what we need, because he is both God and Man: he knows what there is in man both as God and as Man. As God, Jesus knows all the power of love that is in man, created in his image and re-created through universal redemption. As Man, Jesus knows all the weakness, which tends toward sin, that is in man ever since the original sin. Jesus, our Teacher, knows all this: he speaks to us of it because we need him to do so. Jesus speaks to us with severity about the Judgment because we need to hear about this reality that is nearly upon us. "Fool! This night..."
Let us celebrate today's Eucharist with a great faith! May the Most Holy Virgin Mary help us to pray as she learned to pray under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, her Spouse! Let us lift up our mind to God, let us detach ourselves from the realities of this world: may our communion on this day transport us to Heaven, where Jesus is awaiting us for all eternity!