Eph 2:1-10; Ps 100:1-5; Lk 12:13-21: Joy travels with those who come into the presence of the Lord. Joy bursts into song and gladness. Joy comes from knowing that the Lord is God, and He has made us; we are his people, and the sheep of his flock. We hear his voice calling, and we enter into his presence with great thanks and into his courts with jubilant praise. We bless His Name for the Lord is good, and his kindness is upon all those who are faithful, to all generations. Such is the boundless joy of the Kingdom of God. Such is the joy of Saint Paul as he serves the Lord whom no human being has seen or can see, the King of kings and Lord of lords. We who have heard the good news of the Kingdom and have embraced it with a generous heart will bear fruit through perseverance. This is the good news of Saint Luke and all who have knowledge of the mysteries of the Kingdom. Into this Kingdom we are summoned today, at this liturgy, that we might taste and see that the Lord is good.
In every generation it is all too easy to be dead in our transgressions and sins. In every age it is just too easy to follow the ruler of the power of the air. The atmosphere of cynicism and despair surrounds us, and we inhale and exhale its poison moment to moment. This atmosphere produces in us a spirit of resentment and disobedience. We still have fellowship with our contemporaries who live out the desires of our flesh. Indeed, Saint Paul’s challenge to the believers in Ephesus is still appropriate: by our nature we are children of wrath, we follow the lead of those around us who have embraced the idols of subjectivism, relativism, and materialism. If we have accepted such bad news, we are ready to hear and respond to the Good News. God has shown us, in his Only Begotten Son, the riches of his grace. Only when we comfort will we be able to challenge our listeners to encounter the immeasurable richness of Christ’s grace and kindness. Through this grace we have been saved; through faith we have been saved. Indeed, faith is a freely given grace, a self-donation of God. Even the good works in which we live. Even this participation in the redemptive act of Christ is a sheer gift of God. Indeed, we are the handiwork of the Father; we are motivated to deeper faith, more expansive hope and enkindled charity, by the power and presence of the Holy Spirit. Such is the truly Good News we need to hear and respond to every day of our life.
Someone in the crowd was stuck on the inheritance his brother did not want to share with him. This protestor not only demanded that his brother be fair; he also demanded that Jesus take his side and force the situation. The Lord Jesus uses this as a teachable moment for the crowd, and his teaching is simple, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” The man in the crowd may or may not have been greedy, however he was clearly attached to the things of this world. Such things only last for a little while and then you die. As his parable illustrates, the good things of this world enable us to rest, eat, drink and be merry. However, when we are called to judgment before God, what will matter then is not our success or our possessions. What will matter then is what is important to God, things of the spirit like, faith, peace, love, joy, forgiveness, generosity, kindness, and purity. These are the things to which we must be attached. Then and only then will we be free from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us.