Twenty-eighth Sunday in Ordinary Time
“For greater things you were born.” (Ven. Mother Luisita)
Sunday, October 10th Mk. 10: 17-30 Alleluia Verse: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus said to His disciples, “How hard it is for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God.” Today we will revisit two meditations from the Spiritual Exercises – the Capital Sin of Greed and the Remedy.
PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL—EXAMPLE OF GREED / HAVING! By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
We invite you to read and meditate upon this Parable of the Rich Fool (Lk 12:13-21) for the purpose of looking to see if something in this parable is present in your own life.
1. POINT PRECEDING THE PARABLE. Even before Jesus teaches this short but powerful Parable related to the Capital Sin of Greed, a man approaches Jesus. What does he request of Jesus? The man wants Jesus to tell his brother to divide an inheritance with him. This request triggers Jesus’ intervening to teach this Parable of the Rich Fool.
2. TEAR DOWN THE BARNS AND BUILD BIGGER ONES. After the man in the parable has had a most abundant harvest and realizes that there is no longer enough space in his barns, he brainstorms and comes up with a brilliant idea: tear down the old and build new and bigger barns.
3. WHY? The reason is clear: so that he can store up his abundant harvest in these more spacious barns. In other words, if we can put it this way, he will have more possessions, more stored up, more for the future. He is consumed with possessing more and more.
4. CONSEQUENCE: A LIFE OF EASE AND PLEASURE. Then as a consequence of the abundant harvest and the bigger barns with overflowing storage, he can simply sit back, take it easy and enjoy life to the fullest extent possible.
5. HIS MONOLOGUE—TALKING TO HIMSELF. This man has no reference to God in the least, but rather enters into conversation with himself, in these or similar words: “My soul, you have much in store for many long years; rest, eat, drink, and be merry.” In other words: Live it up!
6. GREED AND MATERIALISM LEAD TO HEDONISM. Greed, an expression of the false philosophy of Materialism, all too often leads to Hedonism—which is nothing less than the philosophy of pleasure: the purpose of life is to maximize pleasure.
7. EGOTISM-SELFISHNESS. In this Parable, the Rich Fool never makes any reference to God, nor to his wife, nor to his family, nor to anyone except himself. How he can enjoy his material possessions.
8. THE DOMINO EFFECT OF SIN. Observe how one sin can easily open up the door to another sin and another, like the slippery slope that leads to perdition. Materialism, manifest in Greed, leads to Hedonism, the philosophy of pleasure. These two lead to Selfishness/Egotism wherein such a person makes himself the center of the world—all revolves around him and his desires.
9. A SHOCKING SURPRISE AND RUDE AWAKENING. Little does this Rich Fool realize that before the sun rises the following day, he will already be dead and judged by Almighty God! Jesus points out with stark reality that the man will die, and then where will all of his possessions go? More important, where will he go???
10. CONCLUSION. Jesus points out with utmost clarity that having many possessions cannot assure anybody on the face of the earth a long life. And the human experience on earth is brief in comparison with eternity. Moreover, nobody knows the day, the hour, nor even the way that they will pass from this life to the next, to stand before the Judgment Seat of God, to be judged by Jesus who will judge the living and the dead.
A SURE REMEDY TO THE CAPITAL SIN OF GREED: TRUST IN GOD’S LOVING PRESENCE AND DIVINE PROVIDENCE. By Fr. Ed Broom, OMV
To remedy the Capital Sin of Greed/Avarice in our daily lives there is a key and essential attitude that we must understand, embrace, and strive to attain and instill in our thought processes, then translate into our daily actions.
This attitude can be summarized in three words: TRUST IN GOD!!! Or if you would like to transform this attitude into a short, concise prayer it is this: JESUS, I TRUST IN YOU!!! Of course, this is the very essence and heart of the teachings of Jesus through the Secretary of Divine Mercy—Saint Faustina Kowalska in the spiritual classic, “Diary: Divine Mercy in My Soul.”
THE TEACHING OF JESUS AGAINST WORRY AND A CALL TO TRUST! (Mt 6:25-34)
Read and pray upon this passage taken from the very heart of the Sermon on the Mount. Allow these words of Jesus to penetrate and permeate to the very depths of your soul. The following are points to fill in some of the gaps.
1. WORRY. Many times in these few verses Jesus tells us not to WORRY! Enter into your heart: are you always worrying about things?
2. TIME AND WORRY! Do you relive and worry about your past? Are you worried and preoccupied about the future? Are you living with constant tension and worry in the present? Even though challenging, Jesus commands you to stop worrying and TRUST in Him!
3. EXAMPLES FROM GOD AND NATURE. To instill trust and conquer this dominant attitude of worrying, Jesus uses examples from nature as a means to motivate us to cultivate greater trust in Him. He offers us two very simple and clear examples that anyone can understand, even a child.
4. THE BIRDS OF THE AIR. Jesus invites us to contemplate the birds of the air. When you have a chance, you might contemplate the birds in the morning—flying, landing, and hopping around on the ground having their simple meal. They lost no sleep the night before worrying over the meal that God would provide for them the next morning. If God provides for the birds of the air, will He not provide for us, His beloved children? Have you ever seen a bird flying to a psychologist or renewing a prescription to cope with anxiety and depression?
5. THE LILIES OF THE FIELD. Hopefully all of us have had the uplifting experience of a nature walk in which our eyes fell upon a meadow or field decked and scattered with an enormous array of flowers—be it lilies, daisies, roses, daffodils, sunflowers and so on. There was something in common among this vast array of spring flowers: their differences, but also their elegant beauty. Jesus says that even Solomon with all his wealth, power, and elegance could not compare with the lilies of the field. It is God who provides for them and it is God who decorates them with celestial beauty.
6. WORRY ABOUT FOOD. Then Jesus gently rebukes us for worrying about the food that we will eat. Pagans worry about that. God indeed will provide. You will not die of hunger.
7. WORRY ABOUT CLOTHES. Then Jesus comes at us with another preoccupation: worry about our attire. How often have we worried about our clothes, what we will wear? How often, as a result of greed and an insatiable desire to have more, we have gone off to buy and buy when we already have too much???
8. CLUTTERED WITH THINGS: NO ROOM FOR GOD. Jesus will go on to say that we cannot serve God and serve money at the same time. A heart that is filled with a desire for things and possessions has no room for God.
9. SELF-EXAMINATION. Is your life dominated by greed, avarice, your possessions, and desiring more, even though you already have so much? Have you allowed your possessions to possess you? Are the things in your life pushing God to the side? Unless we come to a humble and honest admission of our failures, they can never be corrected!
10. THE KEY TO OVERCOMING GREED: THE WORDS OF THE LORD JESUS! These words of Jesus in this same passage are the key. “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be given to you beside.” (Mt. 6: 33) Meditate deeply upon these words of Jesus. Pray over them from your heart.
A CLOSING COLLOQUY/CONVERSATION WITH JESUS. You may feel moved to conclude with this prayer:
Lord Jesus, I humbly admit that a desire for things, an attitude of materialism, has in the past dominated my vision of life. I have focused more on having things than in possessing you and allowing you to take possession of me.
Dear Lord, grant me the ardent desire to put into practice your words: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and everything else will be given to you beside.” Lord, may you be the true meaning and ardent desire of my heart, my soul, and my life!
Copyright 2021 Oblates of the Virgin Mary / St. Peter Chanel Church, Hawaiian Gardens, CA