The Gospel for this Sunday (Luke 12, 1-13) begins by introducing a man who wants Jesus to act as a mediator in a property dispute. “Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.” It was quite common to bring such disputes to a rabbi to be solved. But Jesus has no interest whatever in dealing with this problem because it represents a point of view that is totally at variance with His own. Instead, Jesus gives a warning: “Be on your guard against greed of any kind, for a person’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.”
Note that it is possible that the man making the request was actually one of Jesus’ followers. In which case, he needs to learn very quickly that such problems have nothing whatever to do with following Jesus, with being a Christian, or with having a share in the Kingdom. All of the Scripture readings this weekend, including the Psalm, ask us to consider “another approach altogether.”
In preparing ourselves for the Mass this weekend, it is important to emphasize that Jesus is not saying, “You must give up all things and lead a life of bleak misery for my sake.” On the contrary, Jesus is offering a much more secure way to happiness and a life of real enjoyment. His way, the way of the Kingdom, is what He is proposing, rather than the way that most people insist on living – even though that way is seen to fail again and again. Against the greed that obsesses many people, Jesus offers an opposite approach to security and happiness – generous sharing.
At the heart of the parable Jesus shares, He points out that our “security” comes from being part of a loving and caring community which takes care of each member’s needs. But even in the Church, which is the visible sign of the Kingdom, this kind of society, with some exceptions, has not yet been put in place. We still tend to believe that if we do not look out for No. 1, no one else will. We still tend to believe that life is “every man for himself.” When will we put these lies to rest?
Let us pray. “Loving God, gifts without measure flow from your goodness to bring us your peace. Our life is your gift. We humbly ask that you guide our life’s journey, for only your love makes us whole. Please, keep us strong in your love and allow our hearts to ‘give’ without counting the cost. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.”