We Don’t Own Anything

27th Sunday In Ordinary Time

Fr. Mark Gatto

Preached: October 4, 2020

We do not own anything, we do not possess anything.  Everything is given to us by God for a time.  We are given responsibility to care for it and use it in a good way.

The Prophet Isaiah has God speaking to the people of Israel who did not appreciate the gift of their covenant with God and did not care for this relationship.  Isaiah says that God had expected justice but instead saw only bloodshed.

Jesus tells a parable to the chief priests and elders again pointing out that they did not appreciate the gift of God.  Instead of caring for this they acted in a possessive way, did not use this in a way to bring justice and goodness.  So, Jesus says that the kingdom of God would be taken away from them and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom of God.

We should see everything in our life as a gift.  As something that belongs to God and has been given to us for a time.  Our response should be gratitude and a sense of responsibility, to care for it all and use it in a way that reflects the plan of God for justice and goodness.

Here are some examples of things we receive and should care for on behalf of God:

Our Life:  This is a gift and we know that it is temporary and will come to an end.  We are to be grateful for life itself and then want to use the life we have in a good way.  That means caring for our life but also living in such a way that we are instruments of justice, goodness, love in our world.

Creation:  All creation is a gift and we are called to care for it.  It is not our possession to be destroyed and exploited indiscriminately.  How many species are going into extinction or are on the verge of extinction?  How many natural resources are being used in a way that leads to incredible levels of inequality?  Are we treating the environment as our possession that can be destroyed and harmed in any way I choose?  Or do we recognize that it is all God’s creation and that we are to care for it on behalf of the Creator.

Faith:  Our Catholic Faith is also a gift, something to appreciate, but also something we need to care for.  It is something special and we need to care for our Faith.  How do you do this?  Are you doing some good spiritual reading?  Are you praying with the Bible?  Are you celebrating the Sacraments?  Are you trying to listen with your heart to ways that Jesus may be asking you to serve family, friends, your community as the hands of Jesus?

Church, Parish:  The Catholic Church and in particular, our local parish community that connects us to the Church is also a gift and something that we should feel we need to care for it.  This is not my church, this is not my parish, it belongs to Jesus and we receive it as a gift.  We also need to take responsibility for this Church, for this parish, caring for it in union with Jesus.

Family:  We do not own our family.  You do not own or possess your spouse.  We know the harm done in domestic violence when one spouse feels that they possess the other.  Also, parents do not own their children.  Children are a gift and a responsibility.  You are to care for them on behalf of God.

Money:  We think we own or possess our money.  That leads to a very unhealthy way of dealing with money.  Instead of it becoming a gift that provides us with opportunity, as something that sets us free.  We become slaves clinging to our wealth and constant fear about losing it.  But, any wealth we have should also be seen as a gift, given to us for a time to be used in a responsible way to bring about the fruits of the kingdom of God.

“the kingdom of God will be taken away from you and given to a people that produces the fruits of the kingdom.”

Do not look at everything and say, this is mine, that is mine.  See everything in our life as something given by God.  Given to us for a time and we are to care for it responsibly.  Care for it on behalf of God producing the fruits of the kingdom of God.  Justice, peace, love.

See everything as gift.  You are to receive it with eyes of gratitude and be responsible in using it.  Life itself, creation, faith, the church and parish, family, wealth, these have all been given to you for a time.  Use them all responsibly and with care.

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