Maria Kozakiewicz


Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time - July 31, 2016
Ecclesiastes 1.2; 2.21-23 | Psalm 90 | Colossians 3.1-5, 9-11 | Luke 12.13-21
July 25, 2016

"You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?"

We all need a certain predictability to avoid major pitfalls in life. Still it is wise not to overdo the planning.

Several people I know spare no effort to ensure they are in complete control of their lives. They live with pen and notebook in hand (or a laptop), and carefully plan their savings, investments and expenses. Everything they own is insured.

They themselves are insured, too. They spend a few hours in a gym daily, take long walks, eat organic, follow Mediterranean diet, avoid sunburn - all to stay healthy and live as long as possible.

They save, plan and recycle. To save money, they book their trips a year or two ahead.

They have always lived in a predictable world and cannot even imagine the complete loss of anyone or anything.

So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves, but are not rich towards God. - Luke 12.21

'So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves, but are not rich towards God.'

Luke 12.21

Do they lack anything? Yes, a "God willing" caveat which my grandmother attached to practically any verbalized plan of hers from a minor next day's business to her summer vacation.

She would never say "I will go to the mountains this summer"; she always said "God willing, I will . . .".

She lived through two world wars in Poland, and twice she lost everything, including several family members in each of these blood-soaked events. She learned to rely on Divine Providence in matters small and large alike.

Those of her generation were never tempted to say, like the wealthy man from the Gospel's parable: "What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?" Harvests gathered by people living in the first half of the 20th century vanished in fires of wars and invasions.

We often say we are lucky to have lived in peaceful, prosperous times. Lucky?

Our wealth, unchecked by faith and reason, often makes us spiritually blind.

I recently met a wealthy couple in their 70s who - through intermediaries - are buying out an old family property from its numerous co-heirs. Prices they offer are very low.

They plan to sell the whole lot some 20 years from now when the area picks up, they told me. No, it is not a matter of family feelings or preserving ancestral property. No such foolish things; it is pure business.

"We'll make pots of money on this sale," they claim. "Buy cheap - wait - and sell high. We have used the same strategy before and now we own several stores, warehouses and quite a lot of prime land."

I quickly calculated their age at the time of the prospective sale - 93 for the wife and 97 for the husband. No children. No charity they would contribute to. No friends.

"You fool," says God. Harsh words. Exceptionally harsh for our generation of us, the polite, cultivated Western sybarites, who are trying to ban thoughts of death and the final loss of everything that we treasured for ourselves.