18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Ages 6-9): Possessions or Gift?

(Adults, you could begin by reading the Gospel aloud to the child. Alternatively, you could read the first paragraph of the reflection to the child, then read the Gospel, and then continue with the reflection.)


Luke 12.13-21


We know that Jesus has died and is Risen. The Light of his Risen life continues to spread throughout the world to each and every person. The Light spreads to us in our Baptism, and Jesus invites us to help spread the light, too. As we grow, we wonder how. How do we live so that the Light continues to spread? In the Gospel for this Sunday, Jesus tells a parable to help us think about how to live.


Jesus says,

“Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

What is greed? We think of greed as wanting more and more and more—wanting an abundance, wanting more than enough. People who always want more cannot ever be happy, can they? They never think they have enough. They are always wanting.


Jesus tells a parable to help us understand.

“The land of a rich man produced abundantly.

In this parable there is a rich man. We know this means that he has plenty.


Jesus says the land produces abundantly. The land grows enough and more than enough crops—food, like wheat or corn. If the land produces abundantly there is enough food for the man and more than enough. Now we know why he is rich. He has been given everything he needs and more. His life is full.


We wonder if the man knows he is rich.

Photo by Melissa Askew on Unsplash

But Jesus began by saying that life is not about an abundance of possessions. Isn't the man's life full because he has an abundance of possessions?


We notice that Jesus does not say the rich man's land produces abundantly. He says the land produces abundantly. The land does not belong to the man.

Did he make it? Did he fill the land with the strength to grow crops?

No.

Probably the man planted the crops, but was it his work to make the crops grow? Does he know how to make the sun shine? Does he know how to make it rain?

No. None of this comes from him.


The man does not have an abundance of possessions. He has an abundance of gift. It is all gift.


Does the rich man know this?

And the rich man thought to himself, ‘What should I do?'

When we look around and realize that all is gift, what do we do? We know! We know how to praise! We know how to give thanks!

Photo by Elisabeth Wales on Unsplash

But we interrupted the man. He is not finished his thought.

And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’

Hang on. My crops? The rich man thinks the crops belong to him. He thinks they are his possessions. He does not realize that all is gift.

Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

Oh no, no. This is greed. He wants more and more and more. More space for more possessions. He does not think he has enough.


The man is rich in gifts but he does not even know it. He is thinking only of possessions. He has no idea how much he has been given. He offers no thanks. He offers no praise. He is not rich toward God.


Poor man. He is not rich at all.


Jesus tells us this parable so that we can look at the world and see it with his eyes, not with the "rich" man's eyes. When we look around, do we see possessions, or do we see gift? When we see gift, the Light spreads. We offer our praise and our thanksgiving.


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