Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘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 all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”
Our consumer culture sells us the lie that happiness comes from material possessions. While buying something new might give us a lift, the pleasure it gives is as ephemeral as dew drops in the morning sun. We have all experienced how quickly the pleasure wears off and, like drug addicts, we then look for yet another “fix”.
But in today’s reading from Luke 12, our Lord counsels us to “guard against all greed” for our “life does not consist of possessions.” As we grow older, we should simplify our lives instead of accumulating more and more possessions.
The recently-depart Alan Cohen, 83, spent his life acquiring and accumulating large amounts of stuff, charitably called “quirky” by the mother-and-daughter pair who had to organize his home for a recent estate sale. Below are pics of some of Cohen’s stuff.
As we age, we should simplify our lives by discarding the clutter and nonessentials.
Instead of jamming our homes with more and more stuff, try reducing the amount of our material possessions instead. Clear out your bulging closets and cluttered shelves. Sell them in a garage sale or, better yet, donate them to charity and get a tax write-off.
Simplify. Simplify. Simplify.
Strive to live a clean and uncluttered existence. Pare our lives, our possessions, and our selves to what is truly meaningful. Instead of storing up stuff, be “rich in what matters to God.”
You’ll breathe easier and feel better.
And you won’t leave a house groaning with stuff and dust for others to clear out.
Colossians 3:5, 2-4
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.
May the peace and love of Jesus Christ our Lord be with you!