At Mass recently, the Gospel reading was from Luke 12: 13-21; the parable of a rich man whose bountiful harvest compelled him to pull down his grain bins and build larger ones, where he would store his grain and goods for years to come. Satisfied with what he had done, he planned to relax, eat heartily, and drink well. God had other plans for this fortunate/unfortunate fellow, however, and that very night his earthly life came to an end. In the parable, the rich man is called a “fool” for stockpiling his wealth. Wasn’t he merely being a good steward of the gifts God had provided? Let’s think about it in light of some
FAITH – The rich man felt his great harvest was accomplished by him alone. How many times have I patted myself on the back for completing a difficult task or achieving a milestone? How often do I overlook God’s hand in my efforts, or acknowledge that he gave me specific abilities and talents that made success possible at all? It seems the rich man ignored the importance of plentiful rain and sunlight in his endeavors. We could all learn about faith from the beautiful but extremely impoverished people of Guatemala, who know they must rely solely on God for their daily bread.
GRATITUDE – Did the rich man thank God for his bounty? Obviously not, as true gratitude most often results in acts of kindness and generosity. (No mention was made of grain to be donated to the poor.) What aspects of my life do I routinely take for granted? How often to I thank God for my marriage, my kids and grandkids, my job . . . even my problems and difficulties? Is my gratitude reflected in acts of charity done in God’s name?
HUMILITY – The rich man felt he was owed the luxury of relaxation, good food, and good drink. Who hasn’t shared that very feeling? But our current culture has opened the door to opportunities for the vigorous exercise of our Catholic faith. Perhaps your heart is on fire for the poor; or the unborn; for those in jail or imprisoned by addiction; for people who are broken by disability or mental illness; for struggling married couples . . . opportunities are endless, especially if we are willing to follow our Savior and “wash others’ feet” in humble service.
Thank you, God, for the circuitous path that has led me to this place. In your wisdom and your mercy, I pray that you will guide and guard our efforts to build a culture of passionate stewardship throughout the parishes of our diocese.
Curt Hanson, Director of Stewardship and Development, Diocese of Saint Cloud