Today’s gospel from Luke begins like in many family conversations, with someone interrupting, and probably like in our families, the topic quickly changes. It goes from Jesus trying to reassure the disciples about not fearing persecution for their faith to being on guard against the vice of greed.
Now given our current economy, it might seem implausible to have so much financial success that we’d need to be like the man tearing down his barns and silos to build bigger ones. It’d be like our IRAs or savings accounts being so profitable that we exceeded the amount we could have in one, so we’d need to find other ways to store our wealth! Imagine that! Perhaps this isn’t such a bad time to hear this message, a time when many are worried and more aware of the fragile nature of our ability to buy groceries, heat our homes, pay rent, and fill our cars with gasoline, etc.
My brothers and sisters, Jesus is trying to help us, whether we are in a feast or famine, to keep God in the center of our lives each day.
In the case of the man in the parable, the problem isn’t his success and wonderment about how to store his grain but that he is so focused on himself. His words, “my harvest, my barns, my grains,” reveal his mindset. Did you ever notice how easy it is to get self-absorbed when we succeed at something? You’ve probably heard the expression: success breeds success. Yet success can also cause us to wrongly believe that we don’t need others, even God.
One counter-example to the man in the parable is Joseph from the book of Genesis, someone who knew hardship and yet collected abundant grain to feed others. That doesn’t happen without Joseph or any of us looking at earthly things, whether negative or positive, from the perspective of eternity. The man in the parable was too busy thinking of himself to thank God for his successful harvest and forgetting God’s teaching about caring for those in need.
Jesus wants us to remind us today to store up treasures in heaven by caring for others. It’s not easy during these times of economic uncertainty, but Jesus wants to reassure us not to be afraid and to be good stewards of our resources, to turn to Him like Joseph for guidance every day so that we may be wise on earth and rich in heaven.
May God bless you and your family this holy day and let us thank God for all He has given us today!
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About Father David Marcham
Reverend David S. Marcham is the Vice Postulator for the Cause of Venerable Patrick Peyton, and Director of the Father Peyton Guild, whose members pray for Father Peyton’s beatification and spread his message of the importance of Family Prayer. Prior to becoming a seminarian, Father David was a physical therapist and clinical instructor, serving hospital inpatients and outpatients throughout the greater Boston area for eleven years. In 1998 he heard the call to priesthood and was ordained in the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005. Father David grew up in Quincy, MA, and has fond memories of playing soccer, tennis and running track. You’re never without a friend when Father David is around, as he welcomes everyone into his circle with a smile on his face!