Biblical Readings for each day's Mass,
(as listed in the Liturgical Calendar for Ireland, 2017)

23 October, 2017. Monday of Week 29

Saint John of Capistrano, priest

1st Reading: Romans 4:20-25

Like Abraham's faith, our faith will be credited to us by God

No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God, being fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. Therefore his faith "was reckoned to him as righteousness." Now the words, "it was reckoned to him," were written not for his sake alone, but for ours also. It will be reckoned to us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead, who was handed over to death for our trespasses and was raised for our justification.

Gospel: Luke 12:13-21

Our Lord warns against greed in all its forms

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, 'What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, 'Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, 'You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."

Bible

And for what I have failed to do.

While the Bible teaches about the justifying power of faith, this does not undermine the value of good works, as though nothing else was required but to believe and to pray. Above all we have the powerful example of Jesus himself, who went about doing good, preaching, healing, listening, defending, encouraging, supporting the poor. If faith could stand on its own without commitment to good works, then what of the great prophets like Isaiah, who preached a strong message of faith flourishing through works of justice?

Paul's favourite Old Testament spiritual guide was Isaiah, who wrote the stirring, almost untranslatable couplet: Unless your faith is firm, You shall not be affirmed (Isa 7:9). This same Isaiah laid equal stress upon good works. Condemning Israel's liturgy as sterile and useless, he called for conversion: Make justice your aim: redress the wrongs, hear the orphan's plea, defend the widow (Isa 1:16,23).

The gospel reminds us of the faults of omission of which otherwise seemingly good, rich people are often guilty. They can be so tenacious about keeping for themselves preserving what they have amassed as private property. They set their total security in wealth and respectability. To this streak in most of us, Jesus gives this warning: Avoid greed in all its forms.Possessions do not guarantee life Do not grow selfishly rich, instead of growing rich in the sight of the Lord.


Inheritance and greed

Issues of inheritance can be very divisive in a family. Family members have been known to fall out over wills. The gospel says Jesus is portrayed as showing a great reluctance to get involved with a family dispute over inheritance. Instead, he takes the opportunity to give a teaching on the dangers of greed of any kind, and he illustrates his teaching with a parable. The main character in the parable comes across as rather insecure. He has had a wonderful harvest, but he is not happy. He immediately begins worrying about how he is going to store all his extra grain. He begins to be happy when he builds himself bigger barns to store all his extra grain and his goods. He begins to feel secure. However, having built all his barns he dies; he was storing all his goods for himself to secure his life, but it turned out to be a false security. Jesus' comment on the parable suggests that we find our security not in storing up excessively for ourselves but in making ourselves rich in the sight of God, and we do that by emptying ourselves as Jesus did so that others might become rich. The message of the Scriptures is that God is our rock, our refuge, our security. If God is our security, then we are freed to give generously of what we have been given, after the example of Jesus.


Saint John of Capistrano, priest

Giovanni of Capestrano (1386-1456) was a Franciscan friar from the Abruzzo, Italy. An active preacher, theologian, and inquisitor, he earned himself the nickname "Soldier Saint" when aged 70 he led a crusade against the invading Ottoman Empire at the siege of Belgrade. He died later that year in Villach, Austria.