The parable from this week’s gospel of Luke presents a man who has acquired hordes of stuff and yet something remains missing from his life. Despite his acquisitions and accumulations, his search for something more has eluded him. His life is full, but he is empty. His life should have been about more than acquiring money, wealth, and possessions. I thought it was interesting to note that the Old and New Testament contain over 2,350 versesabout money and material possessions. The authors of the scriptures are commenting on our human tendency to become filled with more and more. Our natural inclination is to accumulate,toadd, to upgrade, and to build up. However, someday we will all have to leave behind the life we have created for ourselves.
I suspect at times we all know what it is like to be the man in today’s gospel, getting caught up in creating material security for ourselves and our loved ones. As people offaith, we may also sense that there is something lacking in our possessions. That inner restlessness, emptiness, and longingtell us there is something more to life. We are called to live from a security that may include our savings and investments, but it must transcend these to includea life found in Christ. Our catholic faith reminds us that our primary investment must not be in our retirement, but in our family members, neighbors, and those who are in need. We do not earn or create our own life. The most important parts of life are those parts that we receive as pure gift.
Ultimately, we are all stewards and caretakersof God’s life in the world, in each other and ourselves. We are called to possess without being possessed by our wealth. Christ alone makes it possible to let go, to die. We are called to surrender all that we are and all that we have and find that we now lack nothing in Christ. We have inherited all that Christ is and has. The life we sought is now the life we live as a community of faith. Jesus asks us to risk it all, abandon our lives, and relinquish control to God. That is what Jesus did and expects from all those who follow him. As members of Holy Family Community, we are called to invest in ourselves, each other, and the world in the same ways in which Jesus invested himself: through love, mercy, compassion, justice, hope, courage, acceptance, truth, beauty and generosity. This is the wealth of God! This is the life God shares and invests in us through Jesus Christ. To be rich toward God begins with knowing that we already are God’s beloved treasure. There is freedom in that. It is the freedom to live rich toward others and the world. It reveals that there is enough. It declares my life to be as important and valuable as yours. It eliminates the need for comparison with judgement of myself and others. Being takes precedence over having. As we reflect upon stewardship and how we live it out in our own lives, we may want to ask ourselves some of these questions.
- What resources, talents and abilities has God given me?
- Do I use them in service to others?
- How might I take the next step to become a more effective steward?
- What qualities in the life of Jesus provide a model for living and an example of good stewardship?
- How might they compare to my own life and experience?
- If I am to work to be an effective Christian steward, with the help of God’s grace, what will it cost me in terms of personal sacrifice and hardship?
- Am I willing to take the next step?
- How am I reaching out to invite others to recognize their gifts?
- What opportunities do I provide for them to employ those gifts for the good of the community?
- Am I viewing myself as a manager or trustee of what God’s given me, or seeing myself as owner and controller of my stuff?
- Are there things that God would have me manage differently if I acknowledged them as really being His?
- Am I willing to commit my life to whatever God asks of me?
Let us pray that our hearts may give glory to God and be focused on our relationships with Christ and one another:
Heavenly Father, you know our hearts and our desires. If we are focused on accumulating the wealth of this world, change our hearts. We only need enough money in order to accomplish your will in our lives, and we know that we can trust you to give us that. You give us abundant life, God! What more can we ask for? We can’t take any of the treasures of the world with us when we leave, so why do we put so much of our energy toward it? Father, put passion in our hearts for loving one another and sharing the good news of Jesus with the people around us. That’s all that matters! Your glory, God: that’s all that we want to live for. Whatever blesses you: that’s what we want to put our energies behind. Give us courage to live against the grain of the world. Thank you for your grace and mercy in our lives. We love you! Amen.