In the readings given to us by the Church, the Lord sternly warns us about storing up treasure for ourselves when we are not ‘rich in the sight of God.’ Ecclesiastes asks, ‘What does a man gain for all his toil,’ except that he has labored much? ‘God turns us all back to dust.’
To those who have an abundance, Jesus holds up a mirror. What do we see? ‘Me, My and Mine? Or do you see ta caregiver, an almsgiver, the face of a compassionate person?
The rich man in the Gospel was aggressively self-absorbed. He went out of his way not to share his wealth with anyone. He lived in a little world, surrounded on the north, south, east and west by himself.
Holding on selfishly to material things, emotional grudges, stubborn opinions that can make the world a very small place indeed; a place where it is harder to breathe and see and share well.
Self-absorption feeds on a lust for more where greed has no boundaries. The only boundaries are those that keep others out. For those who store up treasure without being rich in the sight of God forget there is only one door to the silo and only one person who enters it: death.
Death comes to us all, my friends, and when we least expect. The Psalm today sings, “Make us know the shortness of our life that we may gain wisdom of heart.”
Saint Paul lays out a plan for success: ‘You must kill everything in you that belongs only to the earthly life.’ ‘There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.’ If we store up treasure in heaven then we learn to share with those who are poorer.
Hold up the mirror and ask yourself, what do I see, myself or others? And what do I do about that? I know a way to heaven. Go home, find something you cherish and give it away to someone who is poorer.