18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: Luke 12: 13 - 21
Photo courtesy of: Western Catholic Reporter
A father once bought her 3 year-old daughter a toy. Noting how happy her child was, he reported to me, "Father, nothing in this world would compare with the happiness my child is feeling right now. That's why I never hesitate to buy her what she wants." 5 minutes later, the baby girl threw away the toy. Her happiness was over.
Never make a mistake, people are more important than things. Even in the business world, the key to a successful product or service is persons, not things. How much more if we realize that God is more important than anything or anyone else - more than our children and loved ones. God is more important than ourselves and those we are trying so hard to sustain.
The parable reflects on the vanity of all things we value in this world. The first reading repeats it like mantra, "Vanity of vanities; everything is vanity." Jesus describes the rich man as a fool for building another barn that would keep the harvest. All the things that we have toiled for will come to naught unless we know why God allowed us to receive these blessings. Note that everything that we can think of - material blessings, relationship blessings of children and lifetime companion, blessings of health, etc. - everything has a purpose for being.
Practical tips for maintaining the proper attitude regarding all blessings:
1. Focus on the Giver - every gift points to the overwhelming goodness of the Lord. It is He who is reaching out to us. Everything good we receive reflects the goodness of God.
2. He wants that we use these gifts to come closer to Him - reflect on the place of these gifts in God's world and why he has given them to us in the first place. Reflect on the responsibility that goes with receiving gifts from the Lord. We may take good care of them instead of abusing them.
3. He wants that through these gifts others may live - it is not true that there is a lack of resources or wealth. It is not true that poverty cannot be eradicated. Poverty exists simply because others think they can own endlessly for themselves, even if the rest suffer. If everyone knew that gifts are not for personal consumption but is meant to be shared to others, blessings will abound, and even the poor could give and rich receive.