Thursday, July 29, 2010

The Sunday Word

Meditations on the Sunday Scripture
August 1, 2010
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23
Col 3:1-5, 9-11
Lk 12:13-21

An abundance of stuff - gathered, ordered, loved and stored - can incubate an attitude of greed. The selfish song of "I, I, my, I, I, my, I, my, my, I, my" can distract us and cause us to forget God, forget our mortality, forget we can't take it with us. "I and my" can cause us to miss the point of life.

We are reminded of what Thomas Merton wrote: "Solitude is a way to defend the spirit against the 'murderous din of our materialism."

Notice the pronouns in Luke's Gospel passage:"I, I, my, I, I, my, I, my, my, I, my." So said the farmer whose soul was enjoying what his land produced and was wondering where to store it all. Jesus countered: "Take care! Guard against greed. Life doesn't consist in the abundance of possessions."

Jesus asks whether we really need to build bigger barns. People who are as invested in barn-building as this rich man don't have time for the kingdom of God, they can't spare the energy for other things, they lose sight of divine priorities and become blind to their growing materialism.

It's a warning not to let your soul sink so low beneath the weight of "stuff" that you lose a sense of what's important in life. The rich farmer, poor in heart, worships his desires made possible by his possessions. He adores the idea of his success. His thinking centers on success alone, believing possessions will satisfy his soul. He becomes a barn-building fool.

The trouble with possessions is that, if we aren't careful, our possessions can possess us. The "I, me and mine" refrain is a very popular song, especially for those whose philosophy is "The one with the most toys, wins!" Greed makes us forget that we are spiritual beings. We weren't created to be barn-building fools.

Let's give thanks for the barn or barns we have, and out of the abundance of what we have, use our resources to sow seeds of love and justice everywhere.