Without ever realizing it, handling material wealth is one of the most difficult challenges one can ever have. It can be a temptation and a distraction to the more important aspirations of life. Indulging and mishandling it can bring us farther from God and can destroy our relationships with family and friends. It can result to greed, avarice and envy.
Just recently there’s this news of corporate squabble among members of a wealthy family who owns a prominent bus company in the Philippines. It is sad because it splits the family and opens their what used to be private life into the public eye. Truly it is difficult as each family member would demand what is legally and rightfully theirs. Communication may not be quite good while growing up hence there may be some deeply-rooted division early on. It is then a warning for other parents to ensure that these matters are prepared properly and effort must be exerted for better understanding early on. Also, bringing up the children well with regards the values of respect, fairness, justice and love among family members is crucial. It involves role modeling, leadership-by-example and regular discussions when similar situations arise at home. Parents and elders should be quick to take the moment to educate when opportunities to do present itself.
In today’s Gospel (Lk. 12: 13-21), someone was asking Jesus to help by telling his “brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied rather sarcastically telling him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then the Lord warned the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
When you’ve been through difficulties and challenges, you may without realizing it be truly blessed. You are more prayerful, more conscious of helping others, and more grateful of the blessings you receive. Compare this with somebody who is rich but isn’t gifted with wisdom and discernment and so is prone to greed and arrogance. He is more conscious of gaining more wealth and possessions as he isn’t contented with what he has. So it becomes a vicious cycle of gaining more and keeping it by himself rather than sharing with others.
Our society today admires the rich and disregards the poor. The drive to be richer becomes a sickness rather than an instrument for goodness and sharing. Until you realize at the sunset of your life that you can’t bring the wealth with you to the grave. You realize your foolishness when it’s almost late. It’s good if circumstances allow you to make corrections, but when life takes a sudden cut, there goes the opportunity to reform and make amends with God. There will be (late) regrets over lost and wasted opportunities to help others in need. It’ll be the classic line in the Gospel,
“God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”
The temptation for temporal things is big. It’s difficult to resist comfort, enjoyment, power, prestige and possessions. These are desirable but the conscience to help the poor and the suffering in our midst must not be ignored. In the First Reading (Ecc. 1:2; 2:21-23), the author gives us the hint on how to know when you’ve been “eaten” by your possessions. It’s when,
his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest.”
Thus, we must be mindful and sensitive of who we’ve become. We need to be prayerful and allow the Spirit to move us to help and share. As St. Paul said in the Second Reading (Col. 3: 1-5, 9-11),
“Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.”
This Sunday, let us pray that God will grant us the grace to be loving and caring for others. May we “seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Mt. 5: 3)