A Dominican Sister reflects on the Gospel of Luke 12:13-21

Stories about the danger of riches and how wealth should be used to help the poor
are a characteristic teaching of Luke.  Jesus was well aware of the needs of the poor.  He grew up in Galilee where the vast majority of the people lived on the edge of impoverishment. Every day was a struggle for families to provide the necessities of life.  Jesus condemns the man in today’s gospel in the face of so many who were destitute and constantly lived under the threat of hunger and malnutrition.

Life is about choices. Every day, every hour, and sometimes every minute we make choices. Some choices are minor, some are major, but all of our choices tell something about us. Those who heard Jesus tell today’s story would have wondered about the choices the rich man was going to make; will he help the poor and hungry or will he keep it all for himself? The rich man had many choices, unlike the majority of the people who were listening to this story. The gospel ends with Jesus saying, “This man is not rich in what matters to God.”

In Luke’s Gospel, after today’s reading, Jesus teaches about the providence of God and about almsgiving. That section ends with Jesus saying, “Where your treasure is, there also will be your heart.” So, let us consider today, what matters to God? What are our treasures and how do we use them? What choices do we make? I think of treasures as how I spend my time, how I spend my energy, how I spend my money.  To whom and to what do I give my love? For whom would I risk my reputation?

Let us pray that we may use our treasures, and make choices that will answer, in a positive way, the question, “Is this what Jesus asks of me?”


Mary Keefe, OP