Reflection: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Chinese Mass:Every Sunday 2:15 p.m

Our Lady of the Assumption RC Church, Assumption Priory, Victoria Park Square, Bethnal Green E2 9PB (map)

Mass is conducted in a mix of Cantonese and Mandarin

After Mass you are welcome to join the community for a tea gathering

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[1st Reading – Ecc.1:2,2:21-23; Ps.89; 2nd Reading – Col.3:1-5,9-11; Gospel – Lk.12:13-21]

In today’s gospel, Jesus is asked to tell someone to share an inheritance with his brother.  This is not the first time that Jesus was asked to do something that seems to have nothing to do with his teaching.  After an initial response to what he was asked, Jesus continues his teaching where he tells his disciples to ‘watch and be on guard against avarice’.  Jesus is telling them (his disciples as well as the man in the crowd who asked Jesus the question in the first place) to trust in the providence of God.  It is not about what one accumulates in life, but what one is worth in the eyes of God that puts ones’ mind at ease.

The first reading calls this accumulation ‘vanity’.  St. Paul, in the second reading, speaks about the earthly things as opposed to heavenly riches.  Jesus tells them a parable about a rich man who always wanted more of what he already had, even when he had more than he needed and the man decided to pull down his barns and build other bigger ones.  Instead of thanking God and asking God what is his [God’s] plan for all this providence, this rich man decided for himself what to do, leaving out God totally and forgetting the one who provided him with all he had.  What was wrong with his action was not that he built bigger barns to keep all his crops, but that all his attention was focused on his own self, despite all this providence from God.  In all his thoughts, speech and expression there was no mention of God i.e. as if God does not exist.  But, as always, God has the final word, and when God had the opportunity to speak to this rich man, God told him that that very night the very soul that he wished it to take things easy, eat, drink and have a good time, was to be taken away from him.

This rich man appropriated for himself the soul, which is the image of God in every single person.  He treated the soul as if it was his to do whatever he wanted, totally forgetting that the soul is still the property of God.  God calls this rich man ‘a fool’ because this man stored up treasure for himself (which he did not even get to enjoy any of it on earth because that very night he was going to be taken away) but remained poor in the eyes of God who is always ready to shower down his providence on those who are open to him.

What about us? Are we storing up treasure for our own selves or are we trying to make ourselves rich in the sight of God.’

“Lord, although we listen to your word, we often find it difficult to put into practice.  Help us to learn to store up treasures and richness in your sight.  Thank you Lord!”

 

Fr. Jesmond Pawley, OFM Conv.

(Permission to reproduce on this site by Fr. Jesmond, St. Patrick’s RC Church, Waterloo http://www.stpatrickwaterloo.org.uk/ )

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