Growing up, our Pastor at my parish back home was fond of reminding us in his homilies that “there is no U-Haul that follows the hearse to the cemetery.” That was his way of reminding us that we can’t take our earthly possessions with us when the hour of our death comes. No matter how wealthy we were, no matter how many possessions we had, all that we are left with at the end of our life is the place in which we are buried. All our wealth is left to be enjoyed by another, who did not toil for it.
On one level, this doesn’t seem fair. However, this reality should cause us to stop for a moment and ask ourselves what is truly important in our lives. We live in a society that tells us that we need more “stuff” to make us happy: bigger TVs, faster cars, fancier houses… and yet no matter how many things people have, many people still feel miserable. The things we have never seem to be good enough, which leads people to think that the next new thing is what will make them truly happy. And yet, the longing they feel is never truly satisfied.
St. Augustine recognized the deepest source of this longing in his Confessions, when he wrote “You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in You.” Only God can satisfy the deepest longings and desires of our hearts. This is why St. Paul teaches us to “seek the things that are above,” and Jesus reminds us in the Gospel that “one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Catholic Social Teaching reminds us that the goods we have are not to be stored up for our own gain but are to instead be used for the good of all humanity. This is the lesson of the Parable that Jesus tells in today’s Gospel. If the man had given his surplus grain to those in need, he would have received true riches in heaven. Because he chose to be selfish, he ended up losing his life and all his possessions. My prayer for each of us is that we can resist the temptation towards materialism, and instead focus on building up true treasure in Heaven, through our service to others.
On behalf of all of us in the Windsor Heritage Catholic Family of Parishes, I want to wish a Happy and Blessed Feast Day to the Parishioners of St. Alphonsus Church. In addition to celebrating his Feast at Masses this weekend, we will also have a special Mass at Noon on Monday, August 1, to mark his feast day. May St. Alphonsus continue to intercede for us all and help us to grow as Disciples of Christ.
Fr. Steven Huber, CSB