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Place Your Hope in God

Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, Bishop and Martyr

First Reading: Ephesians 2:1-10

Brothers and sisters:
You were dead in your transgressions and sins
in which you once lived following the age of this world,
following the ruler of the power of the air,
the spirit that is now at work in the disobedient.
All of us once lived among them in the desires of our flesh,
following the wishes of the flesh and the impulses,
and we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest.
But God, who is rich in mercy,
because of the great love he had for us,
even when we were dead in our transgressions,
brought us to life with Christ (by grace you have been saved),
raised us up with him,
and seated us with him in the heavens in Christ Jesus,
that in the ages to come
he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace
in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus.
For by grace you have been saved through faith,
and this is not from you; it is the gift of God;
it is not from works, so no one may boast.
For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for good works
that God has prepared in advance,
that we should live in them.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 100:1B-2, 3, 4AB, 4C-5

R. (3b) The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Sing joyfully to the LORD all you lands;
serve the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful song.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Know that the LORD is God;
he made us, his we are;
his people, the flock he tends.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Enter his gates with thanksgiving,
his courts with praise.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.
Give thanks to him; bless his name, for he is good:
the LORD, whose kindness endures forever,
and his faithfulness, to all generations.
R. The Lord made us, we belong to him.

Gospel: Luke 12:13-21

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 the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”

NAB

oct17

I graduated college precisely the year the recession hit. Entering into the workforce with a newly minted degree can be a challenge (especially, I’ve been told, with one in the area of the liberal arts), but what I encountered was beyond frustrating. When I could land a job, it certainly didn’t pay a living wage—no savings, still living with my parents’ house, barely able to make ends meet.

When I finally turned the corner, able to venture out on my own and put a few dollars into a savings account each month, I also had to place a check on my heart.

I was fearful; I wanted to amass all the dollars I could, which would somehow amount to a savings security blanket that would magically cover me so that I would never be destitute again.

I didn’t want to share with a friend who lost all she possessed in a flood. I didn’t want to support a friend who is a single mother and couldn’t afford a box of diapers one month. I didn’t want to use a few dollars to slip out for coffee with a friend who was going through some serious struggles in her family.

I had a desire to hoard all the “riches” for myself. Just in case.

Unfortunately, I was placing my hope in things, not in the Lord and His provenance.

But, sisters, our hope is and should be in the Lord, not in the riches (however little they be) stored up, as we see in today’s Gospel reading. The riches, in and of themselves, are not evil—they are necessary and good for survival in this world—but when we place our hope and trust in them, something is off-kilter.

We must depend upon God while using the possessions we have been given with a heart of grateful and generous stewardship. 

Let us not place a higher value on what we possess than our faith in the Lord, nor our compassion and care for others. The surplus we have been given may very well be the gift needed by our neighbor, whatever form it may be.

The wealth that God has bestowed on you—little or big—how generous are you with it?

Laurel Muff is a creator and appreciator of beautiful things. She resides with her husband and daughters in Northern California. You can find more about her here.

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