You Can’t Take It With You

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In today’s first reading from Romans 4, we read St. Paul’s thoughts on the importance of faith. He talks about Abraham, and how his faith was “credited to him as righteousness.” This is important stuff, and part of the basis of the Protestant doctrine of sola fide, or that we are justified by faith alone. We certainly don’t have time or space to go into a deeper treatment here, but I would encourage you to do some homework. Start with the Catechism of the Catholic Church, paragraphs 1987-2016. Here we learn about grace and justification.

In today’s Gospel reading from Luke 12, Jesus says, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” He then goes on to tell a parable about a wealthy man who thinks he has it all figured out. Then God says to him, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

This reminds me of an old joke. A very rich man was on his deathbed and wanted to take it with him. He instructed his wife to bury him with two suitcases filled with gold bars. When he arrived at the pearly gates, St. Peter looked in the suitcases and said, “You brought pavement?” Bah-dum-bum! Look, you really can’t take it with you. We came into the world with nothing, and we will leave with nothing. Earthly wealth is not to be accumulated and hoarded. If we have it, we must use it to build up the kingdom of God. And if we don’t have it, we can still be rich in what matters to God!

Father, help us to guard against all greed, and to be rich in what matters to you. Amen.

Today’s Readings


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