Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12:13-21

There are many different riches we can chase after in this world; money, achievements, security, relationships, adventures and experiences. The early years of our adult life is often a time when we are searching amongst these various “riches” to discern what our life is really about, what will really make us rich. We make many decisions and build structures into our life that will allow us to gather as much as we can of whatever it is we believe will make us rich. In this Sunday’s parable, Jesus may be talking about an agricultural businessman building barns to store grain, but this is really what he means. We can build “barns” that will secure our career path, or build up the “barn” of our body if we think fitness and health are most important. Or the barns we build might be the friends we surround ourselves with. But the challenge Jesus puts to us is this: Are we “making ourselves rich in the sight of God”?

Many of these other riches we chase after are not bad in themselves, but they are harmful only when they stop us from seeking after God. God wants to bless us with a purposeful job, good relationships and enjoyable experiences, but these are not the true riches that will satisfy our souls. A disciple of Jesus is someone who has discovered that the only thing that will make them rich is knowing God and sharing in His life.

How are these other “barns” that you build, and the “riches” that you chase helping you to follow Jesus more closely? What “barns” do you need to build to make your discipleship a priority in your life? To truly live as a disciple of Jesus requires some structure and discipline – “barns” that will protect the “riches” of grace. Jesus invites us to consider how to put structures like prayer, community and formation in our lives that will help us to become the best disciples we can be. His invitation is to make ourselves, or to allow ourselves to become, truly rich in the sight of God.

Fr Cam Smith, MGL. Chaplain for Deakin University, Burwood Campus.