Scripture Readings, July 31, 2022

July 31, 2022

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23

Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11

Luke 12:13-21

Remember, said Jesus, “one’s life does not consist of one’s possessions.” But if not that, what then?

Think back upon your memories: those of the first warm day of spring when the fireworks of new life exploded upon you; the magic of making castles in the sand with your grandchild; a field of dandelions flowing on and on like the buttery melting sun; laughing so hard that your sides hurt and you and your friends cannot stop laughing even to breathe; daydreaming as you meander through the water’s edge on a lonely sandy beach; the enticing fresh smell of newly mown grass; waking up to the first day of vacation with nothing to do but whatever sparks your imagination; the feel of cool lacey snowflakes settling on your tongue; your best friend telling you you’re best friends; movies with happy endings; walking barefoot in the dewy grass; learning to finally ride a bike without holding on to the handlebars and thinking that you have now moved up a rung on the ladder of awesomeness. Remember this.

Remember, said Jesus, “one’s life does not consist of one’s possessions.” But if not that, what then?

Think back then of tent camping with your friends in your backyard on a warm summer night; lying on your bed as you listen to your favorite song; playing that song again and again until you absorb it like the warmth of the sun while lying on a beach; winning a baseball game in the bottom of the ninth; eating a peach on a summer day and feeling the juice run down your chin; the first time you dared to risk reaching for the hand of someone you’ve discovered you like more than anyone else on God’s spinning earth; getting an A on a course you just knew you’d bombed; the joyous, unrestrained perfection of Christmas morning; the satisfaction of the final exhausting step at the end of a long morning run; singing songs in the dancing shadows of a summer campfire; being lost in the wonders of a daydream and not wanting to ever be found; your child snuggling into bed with you at 2 a.m. because she’s frightened by the thunderstorm; baking bread with your grandmother, then drenching the bread with butter until it runs down your wrist. Remember this.

Remember, said Jesus, “one’s life does not consist of one’s possessions.” But if not that, what then?

Remember the time you held a newborn puppy as it licked and tickled your face; talking with friends on and on into the night and wishing it could go on for forever; camping in a Rocky Mountain meadow; making googly faces at a burbling baby and the baby googling back; the taste of strawberries as you pick and eat and pick and eat; the utter anticipation and joy of the last day of school as you burst through its doors into the endless freedom and explosion of summer; the unbelievable wonder at the birth of your child; the smell of burning leaves on a crisp fall afternoon; the surprising spark of creativity when you’ve feared your effort has been all but lost; a cold beer, the reward for cutting the grass on a dizzying summer afternoon; listening to oldies on the radio as they return you to memories of long ago; Thanksgiving Day with everyone you love feasting at the bounty of your table; being young with an abundance of dreams of what might be; growing old and thinking life was worth it all. Remember this.

There is so much more to life than one’s possessions. We all know it is so, and yet we all forget. Perhaps we forget because we live in a material world, unable to live without possessions for it is of their nature to lure us in. Perhaps we forget because we are in need of being loved, and when without such love we then look to be touched by that which will not draw back. Perhaps we forget because we are but human, and it is of our nature to forget. Or perhaps we forget so that we might be surprised again and again by the beauty of what cannot be purchased, and so we recognize that in what we stumble upon: the loving touch of our God.


What touch of God’s presence would you add to the above list?

How do you keep yourself from being lured in by possessions?