All That We Need
“… one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Some scripture scholars think that Luke’s Gospel and the Acts of the Apostles were written for Gentile Christians, in particular Christian communities struggling with equity among the haves and have-nots. Today’s passage is about greed and wanting to keep what we view as “ours.” Interestingly, Jesus doesn’t say that we should get rid of all our possessions. Instead, Jesus points out that neither the quantity nor the quality of possessions should define the quality of one’s life.
Jesus is speaking about the difference between possessing “things” and being possessed by them. The former points to an inner freedom, while the latter points to a kind of slavery. In this parable, the man is a fool not because he is rich, but because he hoards his belongings; he is a slave to “having.” We too can fall victim to our possessions. We become slaves to them when we are overly concerned about them and cannot openly share our things or give them away. The slave to possessions thinks, “What is mine is mine and no one can take it away.” If a possession “owns” us, we are no longer free to give it up. That possession can be as big as a car, as small as a piece of jewelry, or as inexpensive as a baseball card; it can even be all of those things combined. To hold onto these things with a tight fist is to have one’s life consist of possessions. The invitation to all Christians is to have some possessions and to enjoy them, but not to let them become the goal in one’s life. Rather, all that we have—whether we are considering nature, people, or possessions, are gifts received from God. We must allow this parable to question us about our possessions. Do we own them, or do they own us?
The only thing I want or really need, Lord, is you. I ask that you possess me. As I look around where I am sitting and praying, I take a moment to really see all you have given me. Help me to loosen my grip on those things that I am holding tightly. You, Lord, and not things, are the source of my happiness. Thank you, Lord, for all the graces you have already given me, and thank you for all those that will continue to come for the rest of this day. Amen.
Lord, you are all I need.
Daughters of St. Paul. (2011). Ordinary Grace Weeks 18–34: Daily Gospel Reflections. (M. G. Dateno & M. L. Trouvé, Eds.) (pp. 210–211). Boston, MA: Pauline Books & Media.