Posted by: St. Florence Catholic Church | July 29, 2022

Fr. Oscar Hernandez’s Homily – July 30th & 31st, 2022: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Our society is very obsessed with material things and money. This is not a current problem, this has always been a phenomenon, we find it in the sacred scriptures and in all civilizations; now we are more aware because there are more communication media. If Jesus would give advice on this issue of money, it would be: “be careful” “be careful with what you have in your heart”. In today’s gospel: Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,

“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” One interesting detail… before this man interrupts Jesus with this request, the Lord is talking about spiritual things, you can read the beginning of chapter 12 of Saint Luke; Jesus said to the disciples that they are worth more than the little birds, he is talking about persecution, the holy spirit etc. This man’s interruption illustrates that materialism tends to distract us from that which is spiritual. Materialism in the heart of man separates us from the things of God and seduces us towards it, thinking then that in things we find the fullness that the heart needs.

Jesus takes advantage of the moment to give a general teaching. He said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” It is an invitation from the Lord to be vigilant to defend oneself from all kinds of greed, (greed is the desire to have more and more) thinking that this will fill me, that this will give me fullness. And we can subtly fall in this without realizing it. 

Jesus is not pointing out that having much is a sin that being rich is a sin; the Lord emphasizes the attitude of the heart. And he tells them a parable illustrating that there is a problem in the heart of man, when I want to be rich here on earth, without considering the other life, without taking God into account, when I only think that my treasures are here and not in the other life. Riches are an accessory, they are a blessing, they are an instrument in my life but not the focus of my life, my loyalty must be with God.

In today’s parable, greed captured man, attracted him. The man in the parable who accumulates wealth, like the one who becomes rich, tends to be proud, to feel more, to feel self-sufficient, and to forget that God gives everything, intelligence, study, ability. He does not thank God. It is reflected in the parable that this man had an abundant harvest. Good harvest depends on good rain. 

The one who sends the rain is God, so it is God who blessed this man with wealth. Jesus is attributing the harvest to God. God has given everything. God has given him everything but there is no sign of gratitude.

Wealth and accumulation should lead me to a life of more gratitude and not a life of more pride. Be careful because those who have little tend to get angry and complain to God.

The parable says that the man decided to build a larger storage for the crop so that he could live the rest of his life. Except he did not know that the rest of his life was less than twenty-four hours. Jesus uses him as an illustration of greed even though he took nobody’s money. He did not do anything wrong. His greed lies in what he did not do.  We need to share our blessings; we need to find ways to build up our accounts in heaven.

 I read in a book this phrase: “the greed is belief that there is no life after death. We grab what we can while we can however, we can and then hold on to it hard.” Now we can see why Jesus was so hard on greed. Greed is the worship of another god or Materialism. Today’s gospel invites us to believe in the God of Jesus Christ who alone can give eternal life and not in the god of this world who gives us the false promise of immortality through accumulation of possessions. Saint Paul invites the Colossians to “seek the things that are above” and “set your minds on things that are above. How can we give back some of the blessings which have been bestowed on us?  God has put us here for a reason.

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