Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time C 2010

What are the big barns that we want to build?  Perhaps many of you have set money aside to provide for a comfortable retirement but market losses wiped out your gains.  Maybe you want to purchase a different house, a vacation, a car, or leave savings for your family.  All of these are good uses of money but if we only look at these, we have a shortsighted view of our Christian responsibility.

St. Basil the Great shared these words with his Church:  “You are going to leave your money behind you here whether you wish to or not.  On the other hand, you will take with you to the Lord the honor that you have won through your good works…  Your reward for the right use of the things of this world will be everlasting glory, a crown of righteousness, and the kingdom of heaven… Do you care nothing for these things, and spurn the hopes that lie in the future for the sake of present enjoyment?  Come, distribute your wealth freely, give generously to those in need.

How grateful you should be to your own benefactor; how you should beam with joy at the honor of having other people come to your door, instead of being obliged to go to theirs!  But you are ill-humored and unapproachable; you avoid meeting people, in case you might be forced to loosen your purse-strings even a little.  You can say only one thing: “I am a poor person.”  A poor person certainly you are, and destitute of all riches; you are poor in love, generosity, faith in God, and hope of eternal happiness.”

Perhaps Basil’s and Jesus’ conception of charity is too negative for us today.  Instead, we can see them reminding us that those big barns we want to build are things external to us.  We can never bring a barn or an object into our very being, but we can bring other people into our lives through strong blood, emotional, physical, and spiritual bonds. 

Over the years that I have been with people dying, rarely have I heard people speak about their barns or external things.  They speak about family, failures, their relationship with God because the things that we spend most of our lives preoccupying ourselves with don’t matter in the end.  It is hard for us to spend our lives in the present.  So often we thing of the past, but then we are not living in the moment of now.  Or we think about the future but there is not guarantee what may come.  Jesus wants us to be free from past baggage and free not to worry about the future.

May this Eucharist give us the strength we need to recognize that the barns we build are only idols.

Comments are closed.