Oct 22 (Lk 12:13-21)

King Louis IV was, from 1643-1715, the King of France – 72 years – which is the longest in modern European history.

>> He boasted himself as “The Great” and even took great pride in calling himself “I am the state”.

The “Great” King had even planned his own funeral to be just as spectacular.

He had instructed Bishop Massillon that upon his death…

>> He was to be laid in a golden coffin at the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

>> At his funeral service the entire cathedral was to be completely dark…

… lit dimly by only one candle positioned above the coffin.

This was to be done so that all would be awed by the “Great” king’s presence, even in death.

When he died, Bishop Massillon did exactly as the King had instructed.

At the funeral, thousands of people gazed at the exquisite casket that had the mortal remains of their monarch…

… illuminated by a single flickering candle.

However, as the funeral service began, the Bishop slowly bent down…

>> And to the surprise of all…

… he blew out the candle which represented the late king’s greatness!

Then in the darkness, the Bishop proclaimed to all: ” “Dieu seul est grand – Only God is Great!”

>> It was a rebellious cry to both – the late king and to those who were attending the funeral who had called him “Louis XIV the Great!”

The world very often considers richness in terms of wealth, power and position, isn’t it?

> But not God!

The world very often greatness in terms of worldly success and accomplishments., isn’t it?

> But not God!

How about us?

>> Are we rich and great only in the eyes of the world..?

… or can we instead aspire and seek to be rich and great in the eyes of God?

The Gospel of the Day is a powerful reminder from the Lord on the need to understand the real meaning of “being rich”…

… and an invitation to be constantly on the guard against greed and avarice.

Chapter 12 of St Luke begins with the statement: “Meanwhile, so many people were crowding together that they were trampling one another underfoot” (Lk 12: 1)

Jesus had become a Phenomenon!

>> There were hundreds and thousands of people who were following Him

It’s from among these thousands (the Greek word used is “myriads”) of people, that the voice of one person catches the attention of Jesus.

>> And so we read, “Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me'” (Lk 12: 13)

We could imagine this situation…

>> Thousands of people crowding…

>> One man manages to shout above others… probably pushing others and comes in front… and puts forward a petition…

It is before the whole crowd (and probably before his brother), that this man wants Jesus to pronounce a favour for him…

… a favour for getting the inheritance and help to get riches

How often is our prayer to Jesus also similar to this man’s request…!

>> We want Jesus to answer our petitions in the way “we want” – to have favours granted in the manner and time that “we want”

The Will of God is often not consulted

And when such “prayers of demand” and “claims of requirements” are not fulfilled or delayed…

… we get into despair and depression

… we accuse that none of our prayers are heard

… we blame that probably God is deaf to us and that our devotions are worthless

The man who made his “prayer of demand” and “claim of requirement” was probably…

… influenced by a greed to be rich and wealthy

… disposed by the vices of avarice and greed

>> He was wanting to have God’s approval for the same!

But Jesus refuses to be dragged into such a controversy…

Centuries back, Moses had been embroiled in an argument and was questioned back:

“Who has appointed you ruler and judge over us?” (Ex 2:14a)

Jesus, aware of this, quoted in a similar fashion, ” Friend, who appointed Me as your judge and arbitrator?” (Lk 12:14)

Jesus had guessed the intentions of this man who put forward the petition…

>> And so He uses the occasion to teach him…and His disciples…

… and to each one of us: On the dangers of holding on to riches – things which are temporary and transient.

Jesus gives the Parable of the Rich Fool, and teaches us…

… It is not bad to work hard and to put in efforts to produce bountiful harvests

… it is not wrong to make use of God-given talents and reap richer produces

However, it is also very essential to examine our attitudes towards prosperity and our attachments towards riches!

It is wrong…

… when we amass earthly wealth and riches without any care for heavenly treasures and spiritual gifts

… when we get pre-occupied only with material matters and neglect the requirements of our spiritual life

… when the pleasures of the body are given higher priority over the demands of the Kingdom of God

The parable teaches us on the dangers of being attached to wealth and riches

>> And challenges us to “Hold lightly, to what God has given us!”

In the light of this parable, we need to check…

… In my personal life

>> Does God have the first place in my life or are there other attachments that are given higher priority, attention and time?

… In our family life

>> Do we thank God for all our blessings and continually depend on Him by cultivating a spiritual culture or are other modern gadgets and social amusements that are given greater precedence?

… in our parish, community and religious life

>> Do we orient all our activities and ministries, solely for the glory of God and the service of the needy, and seek His intervention at every decision or do we play around with Christian values and even dilute or compromise them?

The Scripture constantly calls us to become aware of the worthlessness of earthly riches and calls to aspire for things which are higher in nature:

>> “Vanity of vanities… All is vanity!” (Eccl 1: 2)

>> “Set your minds on things that are above, and not on things that are on earth” (Col 3:2)

God considers richness in terms of doing His Will and following His commandments

> But not the world!

God equates greatness in terms of giving up our attachments for His sake and taking up our Cross daily

> But not the world!

We are faced with this choice, at every moment….

>> Are we rich and great only in the eyes of the world..?

… or can we instead aspire and seek to be rich and great in the Eyes of God?

Let us always remember: “Only God is great!”

… and that all our works and activities ought to be always oriented solely towards the Glory of His Greatness!

We seek today the intercession of Pope St John Paul II, arguably the most-popular and loved Pope of our times.

>> His convincing life, uncompromising teaching and courageous words are a challenge and inspiration to all of us…

… “What really matters in life is that we are loved by Christ and that we love Him in return. In comparison to the love of Jesus, everything else is secondary. And, without the love of Jesus, everything is useless.”

… “It is Jesus that you seek when you dream of happiness; He is waiting for you when nothing else you find satisfies you; He is the beauty to which you are so attracted; it is He who provoked you with that thirst for fullness that will not let you settle for compromise; it is He who urges you to shed the masks of a false life; it is He who reads in your hearts your most genuine choices, the choices that others try to stifle.”

God Bless! Live Jesus!

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