Truly Rich in God
31 July 2022, 18th Sunday in the Ordinary Time
Lk 12: 13-21
True or False? Money is the root of all evil. If this is true, how are we going to run our activities and programs and more so, meet our daily needs. If it is false, how are we going to correct such statement?
God is not indifferent towards wealth. In fact, our readings give us better and correct perspectives about wealth. Allow me to share with you three proposals on how we are to understand wealth so that we will know how to use it properly and wisely.
First, understand wealth as blessings. If everything that we have, both as acquired/inherited and as awarded (e.g. salary), is understood as blessings, we will be able to acknowledge the Giver who is God. For the Jews, material blessings point to God’s goodness. They bless the Lord for everything that they have. Something in our Christian Liturgy is connected to that. When the gifts of bread and wine are presented, the Priest says, “Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread/wine we offer You…” And then we respond, “Blessed be God forever.” With the gifts that we receive, we acknowledge the Giver. This act of recognizing God as the Giver of all that is good is an act of faith, of deep trust and of great humility. By being blessed, we bless the Giver for without God we are nothing.
Second, wealth is the end, it is the means for an end. Why do we need money? We need money not to be on the list of the world’s rich and famous. I know of many rich individuals, who, in spite of acquiring much wealth and properties, they are still not happy. They live in mansions but they would say, “It’s lonely to be on top.” They have much money but they are in misery. Why? In the First Reading, from the book of Ecclesiastes, the Word of God tells us that everything on earth is passing. Power, Prestige and Peso-nality are passing.
How to live life meaningfully with the blessings that we have, no matter how much we have? If power, prestige and properties are passing, how can we use them so that we can be happy? In the 2nd Reading, St Paul tells us to seek things that are above where Christ is. Christ is present in the goods/blessings that we have. If we are blessed by God in Jesus Christ, let us be blessings. By becoming blessings, by sharing our blessings and by multiplying God’s blessings we will have real joy. By being blessed, we become blessings.
Third, wealth is not bad at all. But if we are too attached to it by identifying ourselves with it, we will suffer a great disease: greed. Why? It is because one has failed to love by loving one’s possessions, properties and even power. That is why, money is not the root of all evil. It is the love of money which is the root of all evil. If one loves his/her wealth more than God and the common good, one does not reach out and share. In the Gospel, because the rich man only thought to himself and he valued the things that are passing (eating, drinking and be merry making), his life is pointless, meaningless and ended as if he never existed. He never brought his wealth when he died. Worst, no one remembers him. Indeed, those who are truly rich, they really give.
How to be truly rich in God’s eyes? First, let us be cheerful givers. We do not give because we want something in return. We generously and happily give because God is good and God is blessing us. Second, let the eyes of our hearts be open to the needs of others. The happiest persons are those who are willing to share their time, talents and treasures. Because they are responsible and generous citizens, they are free. Finally, we become truly thankful for all God’s blessings by becoming blessings. In this way, we reveal God’s compassionate face especially to those who are in need.
If God is good, all the time, and all the time, God is good, let us give, share and bless. God can never be outdone in His generosity. For those who give to the max, God will not only reward them a hundredfold. God, in whom there is plenteous redemption, is their reward. If greed continues to creep in our minds and hearts, there is still hope for those who let go and let God be God. Amen.
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