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Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Rom. 4:20-25 & Luke 12:13-21

We have to admire our father Abraham. He had tremendous faith and trust in God's promises. He was a very old man and his wife Sarah too was very old, certainly beyond the age of child bearing and barren, and yet when God told him he would be the father of a great nation he believed Him. At last, when he had a son God asked him to sacrifice his son. Abraham could have said, 'I don't understand! Surely from this boy I shall have this great and numerous nation You promised me? And now You tell me that I am to sacrifice him to You. What is going on? I just don't understand!'

We know God spared his son and did make him the father of a great numerous nation. Abraham obeyed and trusted God - and God was true to His promise. It was this faith, Paul assures us, that justified Abraham. Paul is telling us that if we, like Abraham, believe in God Who raised Jesus from the dead to justify us, we too shall have the hope of salvation.

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 and help members of their family who are in need. Very occasionally you will hear about the person who is generous and gives some of it to charity. But I am yet to hear about the person who gives the lot away 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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