Monday, August 2, 2010

Confirmation I and II: August 1, 2010: The Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time – Read the Gospel: Lk 12:13-21

Journal: How did you live out last week’s Gospel message? What was tough? What was rewarding?

Several years ago, there were 9 of us from my workplace who volunteered to cook and serve lunch on one Saturday a month. We kept this up for almost 3 years. I remember that during one of our first few Saturdays, maybe our second or third time there, we were to make hot dogs with rice. We found dozens of hot dogs in their large refrigerator. I did notice that there were about 2 small packages of the wieners that were of a different brand from the other packages. Believing that the Mission’s homeless guests would be hungry, I made the decision to cook all of the hot dogs. Needless to say, all the food was eaten up and gone in about 10 minutes before the door closed.
Another guest, Alan, arrived just before the lunch hour ended. He came up to me, smiling, and introduced himself and said that he was not only a guest there, but that he did little things around the mission to help upkeep the place such as cleaning the bathrooms and sweeping around. He had just come from his very part-time janitorial job. He asked me to heat up a few of his hot dogs that they allowed him to keep in the refrigerator. Embarrassed, I realized that the hot dogs in the different packaging were Alan’s. I quickly apologized and offered to replace them. He laughed at my mistake and said, “Don’t worry about it. As long as all the people ate, that’s all I care about.”
Alan was the exact opposite of the man in Jesus’ parable this week. This Gospel is important for Americans, especially. Our culture pushes us to buy nonstop and do whatever we can to get more money and more stuff for ourselves. Some people joke that those who die with the most toys wins. That’s an easy trap to fall into, but Winston Churchill once said something like “you make a living with what you get, but you make a life with what you give.” Churchill would have agreed with others who quip that those who die with the most toys just die. A “more for me” attitude can take over your life and kill relationships. This week’s Gospel condemns greed not because greedy people go to hell but because greedy people construct their own hell on earth.
Greed traps people in hell by keeping them from the best part of life, that which matters to God—sacrifice for others; service to the poor; and relationships based on character, not appearance. You build a life—and find happiness—by using your talents for others and putting their needs first.
I still forget that sometimes. That’s why I’m so grateful that God sends people like Alan to remind me.

Journal: When have you seen greed hurt people? Has it ever hurt you? How? What happened? Be specific.

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