Wellspring of the Gospel


Year C: 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

The Gospel: Luke 12: 13-21

Today’s Gospel is the origin of the saying “eat, drink and be merry” which at first sight seems quite a good thought to take into the summer holidays. Further reading, though, shows that it is not a Gospel meant for light summer reading. 

It deals with the temptation that still faces us today - of seeing our possessions as our security. The man in the Gospel thinks that he has got it made - life is sweet - his hard work has paid off - now, at last, he can enjoy the fruits of his years of labour... The sad thing is - it is too late - and all that he owns cannot put off the hour of reckoning - his death. As the saying goes, “You can’t take it with you!”

It is a hard thought - and not one we might want to dwell on at this time of year. Are we being told that hard work counts for nothing? Can we really just trust in providence? Don’t we have to make provision for our old age? Aren’t we allowed to enjoy the good things in life?

Well, if we think about it, Jesus did enjoy the good things in life and was supported financially by fairly wealthy women and others. He even gained the reputation among the Pharisees for over-indulging - and people compared Him unfavourably with the ascetics (people who live extremely simply) who followed John the Baptist.

Jesus enjoyed life to the full - but knew where His security lay - and did not allow Himself or His disciples to set too much store by material possessions.

What might this Gospel offer us as people take time off work to go on holiday. Perhaps it is a reminder to a generation where people work harder and harder and longer and longer hours to provide for “security” and live for a dream-future - “when I retire...”  “when the children are older... “ that life is for living now. Making provision is sensible - but should not lead us to spend all our time and energy on building bigger barns (or bigger bank accounts) than we need.

What does it mean for me?


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