21Oct 22 Oct. Monday of Week Twenty Nine

Eph 2:1ff. God brought us to life with Christ and in Christ when we were dead in sin. We are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus.

Luke 12:13ff. Avoid greed in all its forms. A person may be wealthy, but mere possessions do not guarantee that our life is worthwhile.

The Hidden Failings of the Well-off

While Saint Paul often insists, as in today’s text, that we are justified by sheer grace, it is not to condemn good works, as though we were to do nothing but believe and pray. Paul’s favourite author was Isaiah, who wrote: “If you do not stand firm in faith, you shall not stand at all” (Isa 7:9). This same prophet also stressed good works, as in his famous conversion plea: “Cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, rescue the oppressed, defend the orphan, plead for the widow”  (Isa 1:16,23).

The gospel reminds us of some serious often unrecognised faults in well-off, seemingly good people. They can be greedy and miserable about preserving what they have earned, inherited or invested. They can put too much confidence in wealth and respectability. To this materialism, which exists in some form in most of us, Jesus gives this warning: “Avoid greed in all its forms..Possessions do not guarantee life.. Do not grow rich for oneself instead of growing rich in the sight of the Lord.”

First Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

You were dead through the trespasses and sins in which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient. All of us once lived among them in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of flesh and senses, and we were by nature children of wrath, like everyone else. But God, who is rich in mercy, out of the great love with which he loved us even when we were dead through our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ – by grace you have been saved – and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God – not the result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.

Gospel: Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then 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. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”

He said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat, or about your body, what you will wear. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing. Consider the ravens: they neither sow nor reap, they have neither storehouse nor barn, and yet God feeds them. Of how much more value are you than the birds! And can any of you by worrying add a single hour to your span of life? If then you are not able to do so small a thing as that, why do you worry about the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not clothed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more will he clothe you – you of little faith! And do not keep striving for what you are to eat and what you are to drink, and do not keep worrying. For it is the nations of the world that strive after all these things, and your Father knows that you need them. Instead, strive for his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well.