On the flight back from Korea, I was reflecting on what I possess and what my uncle possesses right now. Do I live a life poor regarding earthly possessions but rich in friendship and love? In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us about our attachment to desiring wealth and security. A man implores Jesus to make his brother divide the inheritance, hoping perhaps this respectable teacher would force his brother to give him his fare share. Jesus uses the occasion as a teachable moment to warn his disciples against covetousness, against desiring wealth, against our desire to obtain more and more and more.
Jesus says to the disciples, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” He is trying to teach us about the real meaning of life. He knows that we are inclined to preoccupy ourselves in acquiring possessions to the extent that we identify the happiness or sadness of our lives with how many things or how much money we possess. One of the dangers of wealth is to succumb to the illusion that we don’t need God, that we are self sufficient, that we can take care of ourselves without deference to the one who gave us life and numbered our days on earth. ‘Owning’ or ‘possessing’ material items is not the issue, but when the items become no longer a means to love God but an end in itself, then the ‘possessing’ is idolatry.
Let us not get distracted with any material things or possessions. May we focus on God's greatest gift to us, the gift of His Son, and live out our lives committed to fulfilling Jesus’ mission of love and mercy.
-Fr. Paul Yi