August 4, 2019: Reflection for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
by Sr Mary Ann Zimmer ND
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23 ~ Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 ~ Luke 12:13-21
Ecclesiastes “All their days sorrow and grief are their occupation even at night their mind is not at rest.”
Colossians “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly . . . since you have taken off the old self
with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.
Luke: “You fool, this night your life will be required of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”
The most helpful commentary I have read on today’s gospel passage is by Clarence Jordan, a Georgia farmer and biblical scholar. He points out that the phrase above is literally in the plural—“this night they will require your soul of you.” Jordan takes this to mean that the man had his soul taken—not in death but in absorption in the things he possessed—a kind of death in itself.
In Luke’s day and age, there would have been abundant evidence of the many poor who could have used this surplus for their survival. Luke’s entire Gospel puts the poor front and center and points to Jesus compassion as his most notable witness. This is the “new self” that Paul writes about, the self that Christians put on at Baptism.
As always, the Scriptures question us, “who/what has possession of my soul?”
See the commentary on this Sunday from Give Us This Day and Clarence Jordan, The Substance of Faith and Other Cotton Patch Sermons.