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Maurice Timothy ReidyOctober 23, 2023
Photo from Unsplash.

A Reflection for Monday of the Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

Find today’s readings here.

“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12:15)

Possessions arrive at my house almost every day. First I get an email that a package is on the way; then another when the driver is out for delivery. Finally, my Echo starts flashing, letting me know that it has been delivered.

My kids look out for that last notification. They love running to the front door to see what’s arrived. It may only be a jar of vitamins, but until you tear open the package, you never know what goodies may be inside.

I am pretty sure Jesus isn’t talking about Amazon packages in today’s Gospel reading. He has in mind riches of a grander sort—barns filled with grain and whatnot. But that impulse to hoard the harvest, to accumulate stuff, is one that I am certainly familiar with. I am not talking about food or household staples, the stuff that usually arrives at my door. I am thinking about that new jacket or backpack, or the coffee grinder I spent hours researching on Wirecutter. Do I need all this grain?

Am I rich in what matters to God?

These may seem like harmless purchases, but I am wary of the time they demand of me. Hours are lost reading reviews, comparing products. So many little decisions to be made. Is this how I should be relaxing? And I wonder why I can’t find enough time to read or pray.

“‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;

and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’

Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself

but is not rich in what matters to God.”

I don’t think Jesus is taking issue here with treasure or possessions per se, but rather the time they take away from Godly pursuits. And there’s the rub. So many things compete for my attention. I could spend days in Home Depot picking out just the right wood and just the right shingle for my barn. Or maybe take a look at the RH catalogue, to see what they have that’s barn-adjacent. My mind can be divided up in so many ways.

Am I rich in what matters to God? That’s a question I need to ask myself everyday. Or at least every time I get a notification from Amazon.

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