Brothers and sisters:
Abraham did not doubt God’s promise in unbelief;
rather, he was empowered by faith and gave glory to God
and was fully convinced that what God had promised
he was also able to do.
That is why it was credited to him as righteousness.
But it was not for him alone that it was written
that it was credited to him;
it was also for us, to whom it will be credited,
who believe in the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead,
who was handed over for our transgressions
and was raised for our justification.
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then 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.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, “What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?”
And he said, “This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!””
But God said to him,
“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. THEME: Trust in God’s power or in our human effort.
To many people, the answer is in human effort because they think they can do everything if they try their best. To a true Christian, the answer is in God’s power because He has absolute power and governs all things that happen in his life.
Today readings require people to put their complete trust in God. In the first reading, our forefather Abraham put his trust completely in God’s promise that He will give him descendants as many as stars in heaven and sand on seashore; though he had only one son, Isaac, in his old age. To a man, that promise is impossible to fulfill; but to Abraham he fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. We can see the fulfillment of God’s promise in our life because more than a half of today population in the world are calling Abraham their father. These include Jewish, Islamic, Catholic and Christian people of all denominations. In the Gospel, Jesus gave a stern warning to the one who trusted only in himself: “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?”
1/ Reading I: What God had promised, he has power to bring it to fulfillment.
1.1/ Abraham’s faith: “No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.”
God promised to Abraham two things: descendants as stars in heaven and sand on seashore and the Promise Land. The latter was fulfilled when Joshua conquered and led the Israelites to the Canaan land. However, this is just a shadow of a true Promise Land in heaven. The former promise is the one that challenged Abraham: How can he become the forefather of such descendants when he had only one son at about 100 years old? However, he “fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised.” Thus, Abraham was reckoned as the righteous, not because of his works but of his complete faith in God.
1.2/ Our faith: St. Paul meditated about God’s promise as follows: “But the words, “it was reckoned to him,” were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him that raised from the dead Jesus our Lord, who was put to death for our trespasses and raised for our justification.”
When we believe in Christ, we become Abraham’s descendants because Christ was also borned in Abraham’s lineage. In other words, we become Abraham’s descendants by our faith in Christ, not by blood relation because we are not the Jews. When we believe in Christ, we also believe in God who sent Christ to fulfill His promise. It is by our faith in Jesus that we become righteous and inherit the Promise Land which God promised to Abraham.
2/ Gospel: “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
2.1/ Fighting because of the inheritance: One of the multitude said to him, “Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” And he said to them, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”
There are two principles one needs to learn to use properly all material things:
(1) God gives material things to all: All things are already in the world when human beings first appeared. People don’t bring anything with them when they enter, and will not carry anything with them when they depart. Therefore, let no one use his power to hoard material things to make his own possession; but he must share them with others. One can work harder or spend more time to work; but no one has a right to keep in his hands an amount of money that can be used to feed millions of people. The reason of injustice is human greed, people want to have much money to squander or to protect their descendants to eternity.
(2) We must value people above material things: Everyone knows this, but not many live as such. In today society, we witnessed so many cases in which parents and children, husbands and wives, brothers and sisters fighted because of material things. The results of putting material things above relationships are lawsuits, division and separation.
2.2/ Human wisdom and God’s authority
(1) Human wisdom: Jesus presented a case to make people to think: “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ 18 And he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ ”
So many people today have the same attitude as this rich man, they want to have very much as soon as possible so they can retire at young age. Some try to work many hours, some try to invest in areas that bring them much profit, such as: stocks, lands, houses, gold and silvers. Many had to pay a dearly price for their endless greed! Even some are successful of doing that; but once God plans to take out their possession, they cannot prevent Him.
(2) Human life is in God’s hand: “20 But God said to him, `Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”
People know they have no authority on his life even a short moment. When the appointed time comes, they must depart. If they know so, why do they have to worry and to hoard up money? They know they cannot bring a single thing with them. Their children might not need that, and even if they need them, it is not guaranteed that they will benefit them; for example, the above rift between siblings. Moreover, they have to suffer because of lacking spiritual and intellectual needs or diseases. The wise men are those who know how to live according to the Lord’s way; they use material things as a mean to reach to their future destination which is the eternal life.
III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:
– We live according to our faith in God. Let trust Him in all moments of life since there is no impossible thing to Him.
– Greed leads people to fighting and discord. We need to destroy all forms of greed in human being, such as power, fame, and material things.
– We must use all things that God has given to us to bring salvation for us and for others. To chase after other things is to fall into the devil’s trap.