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Archive for March 20th, 2019


Sirach 31:1-11: Wealth

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

From the notes in the New American Bible: Solicitude for acquiring wealth and anxiety over preserving it disturb repose and easily lead to sin and ruin.  See Matthew 6:26-34.  A rich man who has not sinned or been seduced by wealth is worthy of praise (8-11).

At first glance we will read this advice from Jesus ben Sirach along with this story from the Book of Matthew and we will check it off as one of the ways we are confident that we do not allow ourselves to become separate from God.  We have kept money in its proper place in life.  We are careful to render both to Caesar and to God.  But now I go a step further.  Where in my life do I amass wealth . . . and do I let it color my decisions in any way?

Lent, as we have been observing over the past weeks, is the perfect time to take an interior pilgrimage to examine dusty corners and cabinets full of things we have forgotten.  As I unlock files of memories I thought were well-sorted and archived, I discover some old injuries and wounds.  Perhaps I have hoarded these, thinking that by keeping them from the light I have prevented them from maintaining safe harbor in my dreams.  Have they taken on a life which seduces me?  Do I spend time keeping watch over them to keep them from escaping my control, or do I trust God enough to release them into the present winds?

Anything which we store up is where our heart lies (Luke 12:34) so this causes me to wonder . . . Where have I put my energies and talents?  What do I lose sleep over?  What do I protect from moths and thieves?  What do I take to the granary to keep?  What do I measure out with care?

If when we open the storehouse doors we find the silos are full of petitions answered and hopes fulfilled, this is a sign of God’s blessing on us and this is good news indeed.  If the stores are meager, that is fine . . . we only need to begin today to bring the harvest of our lives.  God is so loving that he pays all workers in the vineyard equally . . . no matter the number of hours spent at the vines.

And once we begin to see the balance sheet rise to numbers higher than we might have imagined, what do we do then?  Do we seal up the bins and vats to put them away for another quick glance on another day?  Do we cover over the chinks to keep every grain inside the tower . . . or do we fling open the doors as our father does with his own bounty, to share what has been given?  What kind of harvester is he or she who has much but who is not seduced?

Who is he that we may praise him?  He, of all his kindred, has done wonders, for he has been tested by gold and come off safe, and this remains his glory; he could have sinned but did not, could have done evil but would not, so that his possessions are secure, and the assembly recounts his praises.

The wealth we store is the wealth we have to share.  What we have been freely given, we must freely give (Matthew 10:8).

When we go to the storeroom today . . . what will we find . . . and what will we share?


A re-post written on March 19, 2009 and posted today as a Favorite . . .

Image from: http://www.nri.org/projects/wrs/publications.htm

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