Deacon Jim Olson’s Reflection – 10-19-20

473 10-19-20 29th WOT Luke 12:13-21

The ten commandments were summarized into two prohibitions – do not worship false idols and do not covet what belongs to another. It is the flip side of the two great commandments – love God and love your neighbor. Jesus warned the man who wanted half of his brother’s inheritance to “beware of all covetousness.”                                                                                                    

To covet is to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge what God has given to another.                                                                                               

Jesus restates the commandment “do not covet,” but He also states that a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of his or her possessions. Jesus reinforces His point with a parable about a foolish rich man (Luke 12:16-21). Why does Jesus call this wealthy landowner a fool?  Jesus does not fault the rich man for his industriousness and skill in acquiring wealth, but rather for his egoism and selfishness – it is mine, all mine, and no one else’s.      

This parable is similar to the parable of the rich man who refused to give any help to the beggar, Lazarus. The rich fool had lost the capacity to be concerned for others. His life was consumed with his possessions and his only interests were in himself. His death was the final loss of his soul!                                                             

What is Jesus’ lesson on using material possessions? It is in giving that we receive. Those who are rich towards God receive ample reward – not only in this life – but in eternity as well. In this little parable Jesus probes our heart – where is your treasure? Treasure has a special connection to the heart, the place of desire and longing, the place of will and focus. The thing we most set our heart on is our highest treasure. What do you treasure above all else?

Lord Jesus, free our hearts from all possessiveness and from coveting what belongs to another. May we desire you alone as the one true treasure worth possessing above all else. Help us to make good use of the material blessings you give us that we may use them generously for your glory and for the good of others.

Published by St. James, Belvidere

Saint James Catholic Church, Belvidere, IL