Opening the Word: Not your sugar daddy


receive a plurality of gifts in return. We’ll get money. Our love life will reach its pinnacle. We’ll experience total, absolute contentment in family life. We’ll have friends, and we’ll experience success at work. 


Jesus Christ does not let us hang onto to this idol of a sugar daddy: a God who gives us material gifts when we follow the Gospel. 


One of Jesus’ followers has a problem. His brother won’t share his inheritance with him. So, he screams out, “Tell my brother to give me some of that money!” 


Now, let’s be clear. Before we turn this man into an enemy of the Gospel, he does have a righteous concern. A just elder brother would share the inheritance, caring for the entire family. Receiving no money, perhaps this man is close to destitution. This man’s stingy brother is engaging in an unrighteous deed. He is disobeying the Law, not caring for the stranger, the orphan, even his own family. 


But the brother does not cry out asking that Jesus return his brother to righteousness, restoring the relationship of love. He just wants the money! To hell — literally — with his brother.


Jesus responds harshly. He is not some random judge or an arbiter of human affairs. Our Lord has come into the world to bring about the reign of God, to overthrow the logic of power and prestige. He has come to restore human beings to right relationship with God and one another. 


As Jesus often does in the Gospel of Luke, he does not respond to the man’s inquiry with hopelessness. Rather, he teaches. He preaches. Jesus believes that it’s possible to teach this man that Jesus’ Father is not a sugar daddy. 


There is a man who tore down his barn to build a bigger one. He had too much grain. So, it was time to store more. To our eyes, this man is successful. He’s made it. Building a larger barn is the only prudent thing to do. God even could be rewarding him for his righteousness.  


But notice what he didn’t do. He didn’t sell the grain, giving the proceeds to the poor. He didn’t give the extra to the hungry. He thought only of himself and to increase his own profit. He rejoiced in his own income. 


“No!” proclaims Jesus. Not only is God not a sugar daddy, but God desires a return gift. We are obliged to give everything to God and everything we have earned back to God. Nothing is really ours. As we approach death, we learn to recognize all that we have gained in this life will one day disappear. 


Nothing is forever. So we should give it away. Material goods — no matter how amazing — will not last. God did not enter the world to announce a reign of prosperity, the Good News that faith will be rewarded with cash and happiness. 


The Word became flesh to enact for us what this gift of self means. It is total, absolute. We are to abandon ourselves to the logic of this divine love, unconcerned about the question of reward. 


God is not a sugar daddy. God did not enter the world to make our lives better or to allow our stocks and bonds to mature. God entered the world because God is love: Love unto the end. God is the Father of infinite, total, absolute, eternal love.    


18th Sunday of Ordinary Time

ECC 1:2; 2:21-23

PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

COL 3:1-5, 9-11

LK 12:13-21


This article comes to you from OSV Newsweekly (Our Sunday Visitor) courtesy of your parish or diocese.


Catholic News & Perspective

Provides information on the Church, the nation and the world from OSV, America's most popular and trusted national Catholic news source


Why is Catholicism vibrant in Africa but not in the U.S.?

Monday, September 16, 2019
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion I feel safe in making this statement. Not many American Catholics will be utterly fascinated by Pope Francis’... Read More

Opening the Word: We’re called to seek with the urgency of God

Friday, September 13, 2019
By: Timothy P. O'Malley Imagine that you’re on a trip abroad. You arrive at the airport and reach into your bag for your passport, knowing... Read More

Who was Venerable Henriette Delille?

Wednesday, September 11, 2019
By: Brian Fraga The last line in Venerable Henriette Delille’s obituary from 1862 sums up her vocation. Henriette Delille, the obituary... Read More

Why I have hope for young priests

Monday, September 9, 2019
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion A Catholic asked me if seminaries currently vet candidates for the priesthood so that clergy sex abuse will not be a... Read More

Opening the Word: The cost of dispossession

Friday, September 6, 2019
By: Timothy P. O'Malley In the canon of the New Testament, Philemon is strange. It is short, written directly to a prominent Christian whose name... Read More

Symposium calls for renewal of Catholic family life

Wednesday, September 4, 2019
By: Dr. Greg Popcak This past July, more than 40 internationally recognized social scientists, theologians and pastoral ministry professionals... Read More

When is silence not golden?

Monday, September 2, 2019
By: Teresa Tomeo We all can use more silence in our lives. We live in a culture bombarded by all kinds of noise and distractions. I should know. My... Read More

Opening the Word: Come to the misfit banquet

Friday, August 30, 2019
By: Timothy P. O'Malley If you’re going to a party, with the right people, then you want to make sure that you fit in. You want to be able to... Read More

Priest starts a Twitter group to break the chains to pornography

Wednesday, August 28, 2019
By: Brian Fraga Not too long after he was ordained on June 1, Father Cassidy Stinson was told by an older priest that if he sees a young person... Read More

The immigration conundrum in one Southern state

Monday, August 26, 2019
By: Msgr. Owen F. Campion No one should be surprised. Mississippi’s two Catholic bishops, Joseph R. Kopacz of Jackson and Louis F. Kihneman... Read More

Online Giving

Online Giving

Secure and Convenient Donate now!