Daily Reflection
October 17th, 2005

Jeanne Schuler

Philosophy Department
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Memorial of Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr
Romans 4:20-25
Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
Luke 12:13-21

True Wealth

The rich man is a fool. But why?

He clutches the grain he calls “mine.” He doesn’t see those who work the land. The poor whose labor yields wealth are forgotten at the harvest. There are debts to be paid. On the walls of the cave our earliest ancestors honored the bison who gave its life so they might live. The rich man drools as if wealth is meant for him alone.

Jesus urges a crowd of simple people not to be greedy. What would he say to us? We who cruise new subdivisions after Sunday service looking to trade upward before the real estate bubble bursts. How do we even recognize greed when the great scramble to make money envelopes the world? When making money becomes our purpose, means and ends reverse and life turns upside down: greed masquerades as virtue and breeds violence. Excess is christened patriotic; it’s doing your part for the economy.

Abraham kept the faith. He and his people kept coming back to God. Not armies or treasure were their protection. They took shelter in the promise made with God.

Whom do we trust? At times we go to bed with doubt and wake up just to work another day. A little spending spree brightens our week. This flat existence might be broken by a crisis that brings us back to what really matters. Or maybe it is a celebration that tells us who we are. Debts are forgiven and goodwill restored at an amazing feast. Senses awaken as our gaze finds its way back to the present. How good it is just to come together and give thanks. Our grip on what is “mine” loosens. This is enough.

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