Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." – St. Luke: (is one of the Four Evangelists—the four traditionally ascribed authors of canonical Gospels)
Gospel Text: (LK 12:13-21)
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself
but is not rich in what matters to God.”
Many of us are blessed with jobs and resources that allow us to live comfortably. The statistical bell curve puts me, my family, and most of my friends, colleagues and acquaintances in the comfort zone of being able to meet our basic needs, enjoy a luxury or two, pay our taxes and share some of our resources, and experience the feeling that our lives are pretty good. Yet, we cannot ignore those who live on the margins.
There is a portion of the bell curve that lives in need of basic provisions, are marginalized or at the extreme are persecuted or oppressed, and wonder if they will be able to lay down their heads each night in a safe space with a full tummy and clean drinking water. Likewise, there is a portion of the bell curve that benefit from structures, policies and cultural conventions that allow them, as the rich man in the parable did, to amass their belongings without shame or obligation to others.
My Jesuit education reminds me and models for me that it is my duty and my joy to be charitable and in solidarity with those who live on the margins, to give of myself and my bountiful harvest, and to work to change structures that perpetuate wide economic disparities. All of God’s children were formed in his image; all are loved and worthy of love and dignity; all of us are called to be rich in what matters to God.