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HOW “RICH TOWARDS GOD” ARE WE?

Father Francis's picture
Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Eph. 2:1-10 & Lk. 12:13-21

We have all seen a film in which a lifeless man has been dragged from a swimming pool, given the kiss of life and in a few moments he breathes again. He has been brought back to life! This situation is similar to what Saint Paul is describing to the Ephesians in the First Reading today.

Before Christ came we were as good as dead men and women because we are sinners. Through Christ the Holy Spirit breathed life into us. He gave us the gift of new life. We didn't merit it. We didn't deserve it. This new life was not of our doing nor a reward for our achievements. We are Christ’s handiwork. We were rescued from spiritual death and brought back to life by the Lord Jesus. This new life is now given to us in the sacraments. How can we ever thank the Lord for this?

What would you do if you found you had won millions on the lottery? Would you buy a holiday home abroad, a new big house and a luxurious car? Would you quit your job and retire? Would you hoard all that money and use it as you pleased, or would you see it as a gift from God and use it to help the needy?

The man in today's Gospel parable saw his unexpected wealth as his due and made plans to keep hold of it as long as he could. Jesus showed us that the man was deluding himself. Not only was this 'bumper crop' a gift from God, so too was the man's life. Without the gift of life, the man's wealth became utterly useless.

With the lottery there are individuals who win millions. What a responsibility they have! Some invest that money, secure a safe future and make themselves richer. Others are generous enough to help members of their family who are in need. Very occasionally you will hear about the person who is much more generous and gives some of it to charity.
But I am yet to hear about the person who gives almost all the winnings to charity!

Jesus indicates that anyone "who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God" is foolish (Lk 12:21). What does it mean to be "rich towards God"? When we view our possessions, and even our very lives, as a pure and undeserved gift from God, we are much better disposed to be generous to others. Jesus emptied Himself so that we could be rich. We must follow His example. As we come to understand what a wonderful gift we have received, we will naturally feel compelled to reflect Jesus' graciousness towards others.

Saint Teresa of Calcutta understood Jesus' generosity to us. Her words can also inspire us to greater generosity, "Open your hearts to the love God instils in you. God loves you tenderly. What He gives you is not to be kept under lock and key, but to be shared."

Lord Jesus, give us the grace to share everything You have given us with those who have less. In this way, may we become generous like You!

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