One Minute Reflection – 4 August – Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C, Gospel: Luke 12:13–21 and The Memorial of St John Vianney (1786-1859)
“But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” … Luke 12:20-21
REFLECTION – “What am I to do? I will pull down my barns and build larger ones.” Now why did that land bear so well, when it belonged to a man who would make no good use of its fertility? It was to show more clearly the forbearance of God, whose kindness extends even to such people as this. He “sends rain on both the just and the unjust, and makes the sun rise on the wicked and the good alike” (Mt 5:45)… These were God’s blessings towards this rich man – fruitful fields, a temperate climate, abundant sowing, oxen to do the work and everything needful to assure his prosperity. But what do we find in this man? A bitter disposition, hatred of other people, unwillingness to give. This is the return he made to his Benefactor.
He forgot that we all share the same nature, he felt no obligation to distribute his surplus to the needy, he paid no heed to those divine precepts: “Refuse n- one the good on which he has a claim” (Prv 3:27), “Let not kindness and fidelity leave you” (3:3), “Share your bread with the hungry” (Is 58:7). Every prophet, every wise man cried out to him these precepts, yet he turned a deaf ear. His barns were full to bursting point but still his miserly heart was not satisfied… Greed would not permit him to part with anything he possessed and yet, because he had so much, there was no place to store his latest harvest And so he was incapable of making a decision and could find no escape from his anxiety. “What am I to do?” he went on saying. Who would not pity a man so oppressed? His land yields him no profit but only sighs… he laments in the same way as the poor do. What am I to do? How can I find food and clothing?…
You who have wealth, recognise who has given you the gifts you have received. Consider yourself, who you are, what has been committed to your charge, from whom you have received it, why you have been preferred to most other people. You are the servant of the good God, a steward on behalf of your fellow servants… “What am I to do?” It would have been so easy to say – “I will feed the hungry, I will open my barns and call in all the poor… Let anyone who lacks bread come to me. You shall share, each according to need, in the good things God has given me, just as though you were drawing from a common well”. … St Basil the Great (329-379) Father and Doctor of the Church
PRAYER – O God, protector of those who hope in You, without Whom nothing has firm foundation, nothing is holy, bestow in abundance Your mercy upon us and grant that, with You as our ruler and guide, we may use the good things that pass, in such a way, as to hold fast even now to those that ever endure. Help us, by St John Vianney’s example and prayers, to win our brethren for Christ by our love and to share with them now and in eternal glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.