Gosh, we have needed to hear these readings for the 18th Sunday of ordinary time more than ever. If we look at the three texts for this period of scripture, we see one thing that reveals a truth about God.
He doesn't give a rat's ass about money! Actually, he doesn't care at all for the possessions we desire. Ecclesiastes (Ee-clee-zee-ass-tees) boldly prophecy that all things are vanity. Yes, all THINGS are vanity. We want all sorts of THINGS and only suffer because of it. Think about it? Who among us wouldn't love to have a little more wealth? Who wouldn't want a more beautiful home or a newer car, or better health? Ooh, that last one hits close to home for me.
Truth is that all Earthly THINGS matter very little to God.
The Psalm- If today you hear His voice, Harden not your hearts is asking us to surrender. We have to surrender to God's will and that God's will provides us with what we need. That's a matter of biblical Truth if we are open to accepting it. We should encounter hardened hearts, show them the way of Christ, and let Him do the work of softening their stone.
Right now, we see the hardness of hearts along our Southern Border. We are seeing the hardness of hearts in defending the fundamentals of what makes the American Society so beautiful. While we separate Church and State, we must let our faith inform our conscience as we elect those who govern. But without delving deeper into the political talk, let us point this out- Jesus, Mary, and Joseph fled to Egypt, they were immigrants. Jesus was a survivor of Infanticide by Herod, persecuted by the harden hearts of Church leaders and governors of the day, and so terribly that crucifixion was Jesus' Earthly endpoint (for a few days).
St. Paul understood that we needed to let go of the world. He asks the Colossians,
" Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Stop lying to one another."
"...the greed that is idolatry" Nice, phrasing Paul! That is what we should remind ourselves daily. We chase dollar bills to pay for our living expenses, but how often do we make THAT the priority over any of the life-giving things such as family time, or prayer? The answer in America is far too often.
This transition into Jesus being asked to settle a conflict of inheritance between two brothers. Jesus uses this as a teaching opportunity to show us how to live in the kingdom of God. When the wealthy farmer is faced with storing more than he has room for, the inclination is to save it all for his needs. This is normal. We all do this! However, Jesus reminds the group that the man when he dies doesn't get to take his abundance with him.
I think the lesson we need to relearn here is that while it is not wrong to have reserves, to build a comfortable life; we cannot ignore the need of our neighbor and this is something I personally struggle with on the regular. What I am reminded of through this teaching is that building community is better than building my wealth. Feeding others (literally and figuratively) is the kind of treasure I get to take with me forever. The appreciation and humility exchange between people is what God finds valuable. After all, He exchanges and humbles himself with us endlessly, so why shouldn't I try to do the same?
We are fast approaching a time where we must decern personal liberty and public safety as an American society. We need to establish what we really hold valuable, treasures that aren't monetary, treasures that don't force, but treasures that build up a life, honor the persons and bring all beings into fuller participation in the world.
This is where our treasure is, not in any other form. So says the Lord and I believe him.