Today’s first reading from James 5:1-6 got me to thinking about the lottery. I used to be and I say used to be one who thought “If only I could win the lottery I would…” Many will disagree with me but I believe today without a doubt, that if I won the lottery, it would ruin my life and I would be on the road to hell.
Scripture talks about storing up riches and not being able to take any of it with us when we die. St. James says also “You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure; you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.” How many comments have we made in our dreams of winning the lottery that we would give this much away, buy this, move here, travel there and many other “things” one can do or have with a lot of money. I for one could not handle the responsibility of following the will of God with a lot of money. I just could not do it.
I think the temptations would be so great even with the desire to share it with those in need. The Responsorial Psalm 49:17-20 also says today…Do not fear when a man becomes rich, when the wealth of his house grows great. At his death he will not take along anything, his glory will not go down after him. During his life his soul uttered blessings; “They will praise you, for you do well for yourself.” But he will join the company of his fathers, never again to see the light.
Never see light! I am not financially rich by the world’s standards but I have to be on guard for the excess luxury and pleasure available to me. I have a lot already, more than I need and this in itself should wake me up. There is a prayer that I say daily that I started for one of my New Year’s Resolutions 2 years ago. It is Proverbs 30:7-9 and I believe it has helped me greatly to not desire too much or too little…Two things I ask of you, do not deny them to me before I die: Put falsehood and lying far from me, give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; Lest, being full, I deny you, saying, “Who is the LORD?” Or, being in want, I steal, and profane the name of my God.
As much as our Lord talks about how difficult it will be for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, let us pray in gratitude and thanksgiving for what we have been given and to use all of God’s grace for his glory and not our own. Amen.