August 9, 2010
Money Talks ... Not in Heaven
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time
Luke 12:13-21 “Though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
August 1, 2010
When I was in college, a friend of mine invited me to accompany her in Megamall. She bought a new refrigerator, television set, gas range, king size bed and jewelries. Knowing that she had a shopping spree recently, I asked her why? She answered, “It’s my money, I deserve to use them freely.” A week later, she slashed her right wrist. When I visited her in the hospital, she said, “Willy, I realized that money could not make me happy.”
Our gospel explicitly tells us that material possessions should not be the reason for living. We already know this truth but sometimes our action betrays our words. Jesus gave us a stern warning on mishandling God’s blessings : “Take care to guard against all greed; because your true life is not made up of the things you own, no matter how rich you may be (Luke 12:15).” We need to remind ourselves that any blessing we received is bound to be shared; and to share is an act of recognition and gratitude that everything is indeed a gift from God. Anything we possess is not for our own use only. God expects us to be good stewards of His grace.
In our story it was not mentioned that the wealthy man was wicked or immoral. But it was mentioned that his farm produced a bountiful harvest. Unfortunately, he earned God’s anger for being greedy. He “stored up treasures for himself” instead of “becoming rich in the sight of God (Luke 12:31).” His gravest mistake was - hoarding God’s blessings for himself without discovering the joy of sharing.
Be cautious of the devil’s devious trap: When one becomes selfish and forgets to share, he begins to crave for more money, more luxuries, more amenities and more gadgets, until it becomes an unquenchable greed for more. Wealth then becomes his life and happiness. This is tragic. And when greed rules, we can easily drop our Sunday family bonding in exchange of double pay work and bribe our children with an I-Pod. When greed rules, we can easily buy expensive jewelry without qualms and ignore our neighbor borrowing P125 for medicine. When greed rules, we need to remind ourselves of three things to wake us up: First, everything is gift from God. Second, the graces we received – money, health, time, talent and others – come with great responsibility. Third, graces are meant to be shared. God gave us hands for two purposes: to receive graces from God and to release some for the benefit of the needy.
Here is the irony of life: We work hard all our life to secure our future with hefty pension. We plan a lot for our retirement. We buy expensive life insurance for our families. Some of us even went to the details of choosing their coffins and grave sites. But we do little effort to secure our souls after death. We seldom consider our “After Life Insurance Plan.” We need to remind ourselves that there is LIFE after this life. For those who are really wise, they know where to keep their material possessions: in Heaven’s Barn.
A prisoner in New Bilibid Prison came to me with a thought, “Padre, mas masarap palang pakainin ang pamilya ko ng sardinas na galing sa pawis ko, kaysa sa bigyan ko sila ng lechon na galing naman sa pagnanakaw. Sayang huli na ang lahat.” Sometimes, it’s too late to realize that money is not the source of real happiness and security.
In this consumerist society where people love to say “Money talks,” I agree and disagree. Yes, money talks in this world – but not in heaven.
“Life is so tragic for the person who has plenty to live on, but nothing to life for.”
- Fr.Willy M. Samson,SJ / Carmel Chapel, Zamboanga City / August 1, 2010