Let me share this quote with you. I’m paraphrasing, as I can’t remember the exact wording. See if you can guess who might have said this. Hint – it’s a famous person: “You can take all your things and stuff them into your pockets and take them to your grave. Or, you can take your stuff and do some good with it”. Think about it for a minute.
How many pairs of shoes do you have? How many purses or ties? How much is stuffing your closets to overflowing, doing no one any good because you can’t even keep track of all you have? Think of the parable of the rich man with the bountiful harvest. Instead of distributing the excess of his harvest to those in need, he built bigger barns to hold it all. Why? Because it was his!
How many of us have purchased larger homes because we outgrew the old ones because of more and more stuff; or rented storage units because our closets and garages were overflowing? When was the last time you de-cluttered and took things to the local mission, or to Goodwill or the Salvation Army?
I can answer for myself — it’s been awhile.
For what are we saving it all? A good question to ask ourselves when we can’t find what we want for the overabundance in our storage spaces. I do know that when I have given away the excess, I find I don’t miss any of it. What does that say about me? Things rule our lives. I remember someone, sometime, saying: The things you own eventually own you. How true.
Now I don’t mean to rag on anyone who has a lot. I’m sure most people work very hard for what they have and have every right to enjoy the fruits of that labor. But it can be taken to excess without any thought of others who don’t have that blessing. We must be careful and be ready to share with others.
The rich man in today’s Gospel parable says we should “…rest, eat, drink and be merry!” because of all the goods we have stored up for many years to come. Perhaps, instead, we should listen to the rather harsh and ominous, but very true, words of Jesus: ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”
Just what does matter to God? You might re-read Matthew 25: 31-46. This section of the Gospel lays out how you store up riches for heaven. Your exercise for this week is to try to identify where you might be lacking and begin to act on Jesus’ warning. And, of those blessings, we can surely build all the extra storage barns we need in our hearts and souls to hold them all until heaven beckons.
Now, back to the quote at the top of this reflection. It was by Hoda Kotb, NBC Today show co-anchor. Wise women!
Jeanne Penoyar, an Accounts Manager here at Diocesan, is currently a Lector at St. Anthony of Padua parish in Grand Rapids, MI. While at St. Thomas the Apostle, Grand Rapids, Jeanne was a Lector, Cantor, Coordinator of Special Liturgies, Coordinator of lectors and, at one time, chair of the Liturgy Commission. In a past life, secretary/bookkeeper at the Basilica of St. Adalbert where she ran the RCIA program for the Steepletown parishes. And she loves to write! When relaxing, she likes reading and word puzzles. You can contact her at email@example.com.