18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel – Luke12:13-21
Raising the Barn
Ruins, Caesarea Maritima
Years ago when I was in high school, I had a summer job working on a local pig farm. Yes it was difficult and rather dirty work but all in all there was a certain sense of satisfaction and ‘job well done’ when we got to the end of the workday. One day we went over to a neighboring farm to lend a hand building a new barn. The leader of the build was a middle-aged Amish gentleman who was accompanied by his 2 little sons, probably only about 7 or 8 years old. Dressed in black pants, white shirt and suspenders, and a wide brimmed straw hat, those 2 boys were fearless. I still remember them walking, actually almost dancing, along the main roof beam on the very top of the structure. Their father must have been used to their antics. He just continued on checking in his little black book for measurements and angles and such. In the end, that barn was magnificent, perfectly and meticulously constructed, not a beam out of place.
A few years ago while I was visiting my mom, I drove past that barn. It was in ruins, fallen down and a wreck. Let’s face it – that barn was never going to last forever. Sooner or later it was going to collapse and fall into ruin, no matter how much time and effort and money was put into its construction.
Jesus tells us in today’s Gospel that life is not about possessions or amassing a fortune. Now let’s be clear here! This doesn’t mean we give up our job on this beautiful Sunday morning. It doesn’t mean we neglect our family and provide no food, no shelter, no clothing. It DOES mean that we need to keep our material priorities in perspective and that we do not neglect our relationship with God or our call to care for those in need. Material things are not bad in and of themselves. But we can’t let money or possessions or prestige be our one and only priority. If we could just focus not so much on building up a fortune in coin and property (and barns) and appreciate and be thankful for the riches of God’s creation all around us!