In today’s gospel, Jesus said, “take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions”. In the above statement, we are reminded that the most important truth about life does not consist in what we possess. In the gospel, the center of the rich man’s life was simply his wealth. His only concern was how to store his harvest, build bigger barns, and hoard the extra grain only for himself without any consideration for others.
Last Sunday, Jesus taught us in the prayer of Our Father to ask God, “give us this day our daily bread”, and not the bread for the next year, meaning that we are to be totally dependent on God and not on our possessions. That is what the rich man failed to understand. In the second reading, St. Paul asks us to seek what is above since as Ecclesiastes tells us, all earthly riches are vanities. Can we pause for a moment and think about the great and rich men of the last hundred years, where are they and what use is their wealth to them today?
Dearest brothers and sisters, the reality of death makes all our earthly accomplishments seem useless. What is useful to us with regard to our wealth is not how much we leave behind but how much help we rendered to others with it. At the judgment day, the thousands or millions you left in your account will not account for much but, how much of them you used yourself to help others while you are alive or how much of them you dedicate to charity at death will.
The temptation facing many people today is turning material goods into idols and elevating them to the rank of gods. In other words, making them ends instead of means. In the scale of values, the material must give way to the human and then to the divine. Man isn’t the measure of all things. God is. St. Theresa of Avila once said, “all things pass; God only endures”.
A first step, learn the difference between needs and wants. A priest owned two pairs of trousers. When asked, why? He said, one for washing and the other for wearing. Two pairs, all he needed. How many closets in our houses are stuffed full with clothes we seldom wear for example? The question for us always should never be, how can I store what I have? But how shall I share what I have?