Commentary on the Gospel of
In today’s Gospel, there is a theme about possessions and what it is that God values.
Jesus responds, in his direct response to one of the members of the crowd, as well as in his parable, is clear that possessions and keeping one’s harvest is not the mentality that we as Christians are invited to live out.
“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
“’You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ This will it be for the ones who stores up treasure for himself, but is not rich in what matters to God.”
Many of us understand that what is really important in life is not our possessions. As reflective people, we may agree that family, health, love and even the opportunity to be alive today, are all greater gifts. Taking it one step further as Christians, we are invited to value our relationship with God, our intimacy with Christ, our dependence and gratitude for those spiritual gifts, even more.
My husband and I value living a simple lifestyle and hope to pass that value on to our young children as they grow up. Many people in our society, including loved ones, value gift giving as a way to show their love and affection. After getting married, owning a home and having two children in recent years, we have accumulated a lot of stuff from many well-meaning and loving family members and friends. We are grateful for their support, but we also feel the tension with the message that this Gospel passage highlights.
As we struggle to teach our children that ‘more stuff’ is not the key to happiness or closeness to God, my husband and I use humor to help us navigate the difficulties. He and I joke about the accumulation stuff as we live in the tension of being grateful and striving toward a more minimalist lifestyle. If it was a game and the goal to accumulate as little stuff as possible, then we would be “losing” the game!
As I reflect deeper, I think the invitation for me, perhaps for all of us, is how we prioritize our possessions. Do we feel sincere detachment from our material goods? Do we place more trust / desire / hope in God, rather than in the idol of possessions – the newest article of clothing, technology accessory, children’s book or other item that Western consumer culture is trying to sell us? Where, in our daily life today, might there be an invitation from God, to turn our focus away from valuing possessions?