Gospel Reflections

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

Luke 12:13-21

Sunday Gospel Reflection by Sister Barbara Barry

Published: July 31, 2016

Read Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to him, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me." Jesus replied, "Man, who appointed me a judge... Read More…


We certainly know that the Gospels are not a recorded history of the words and actions of Jesus as they happened.  Neither are they an autobiography written by Jesus so that we would have a record of his most important messages.  They are more like a record of the first communities of followers and what was important to them.

There is a popular television program in America called “Blue Bloods.”  It is about a New York family of law enforcement professionals.  A pivotal scene in each week’s episode is the conversation as the three generations of family are gathered around the Sunday dinner table. The topic is usually ethical in nature. The conversation includes everyone and often recalls some past family experience related to the issue at hand.  Conversations like this reveal what is important to an individual and a family or community.

These chapters of Luke’s Gospel are a series of stories of what the community remembers learning from Jesus. Today’s Gospel focuses on avarice. In today’s world, as in Jesus’ day and the centuries before him, there are those who have more than they need and there are those who do not have what is needed to sustain life. In business, success is measured by profit. Companies can feel better about themselves when they run a charitable foundation, or encourage service work among their employees. Perhaps they even offer a just wage and benefits to their employees. But success is still measured by the growth of the bottom line. Amassing more than what is needed for today is considered being responsible stewards for the future. You can put a good spin on all of it.

The early Christian communities remember these stories from Jesus because they were poor and life was hard. They heard Jesus talk about a reign of God that seemed much more balanced, where no one was in want.  “I came that you (all) may have life in abundance.”  Greed is non-existent.  

Greed is at the core of all the sin in the human community. Pope Francis is trying desperately to remind us of that. Laudato Si’  is an invitation, no, a command to the world community to see with new eyes, to choose with new purpose and to love unconditionally. He calls for contemplative dialogue and openness to conversion, not just among religious, or Christians, but among us all.  

It can sometimes be discouraging to think that humanity is in a similar state today to what was in existence at the time of Jesus. But Christians are a people of hope. To quote Pope Francis, “The Spirit of God has filled the universe with possibilities and therefore, from the very heart of things, something new can always emerge.” (Laudato Si’ #80)       

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