Fullness Of Life

Linus is the Peanuts character who is always drawn holding a blanket to his head and sucking his thumb. Linus is a beloved character who reminds us that we all need a hug, a security blanket once in a while. Borrowing his name and image, Project Linus is a national organization that provides free security blankets for critically ill or traumatized children. Some of the blankets donated are larger, intended for older children. Pain, fear, and insecurity know no age limits. Whenever we face any life-threatening occasion, we naturally reach out for whatever relieves us, whatever wraps us in hugs, love, security. We can readily identify, then, with the rich man in the gospel who has a “bountiful harvest” and doesn’t want to waste a single grain. Although he is rich and probably already has plenty, he portrays what each of us harbors in the depth of our hearts: we can never have enough. We always want to increase whatever we think gives us security in face of life’s inevitable exigencies. How mistaken we are!

grain-1024x439The rich man in the gospel thinks building bigger barns to hold a boon of “grain and other goods” will give him enough security that he can “rest, eat, drink, be merry.” When his life is “demanded” of him, however, his store of “grain and other goods” proves not to be the ultimate security—an eternal inheritance. He is misguided about the bigger barn he really needs to build. In the end, what “matters to God” is a “barn” full of what only God can give: life, love, holiness, fidelity, generosity, compassion, Life. No barn can ever be big enough to hold these. No barn we build can hold the security that is God alone. The only security we truly possess is a loving relationship with God—and this is surely what matters most to God. It should matter most to us. Even with all our Christian living and reflection, we still struggle with what God graciously offers us—not more possessions, but fullness of Life. The gospel challenges us to direct all of our work toward a quality of life based on growing in our relationship with God and each other. Even our possessions and how we use them have this end—to bring us into right relationship with God and each other so that ultimately we possess what really counts: God’s eternal Life. God offers us what matters most—fullness of Life and the secure happiness that only God can give. God alone is our sure security blanket. [Living Liturgy 2013]

This parable reminds us how fleeting are the things of this world and how easy it is to have a false sense of security in ourselves and our possessions. In both this world and the next, our ultimate security can be found only in God. What do we need to clean out of our “barn” to make more room for God? Perhaps we need to stop asking Jesus to correct the behavior of someone else (“tell my brother”) and start letting him transform our values and behavior. Perhaps we need to take inventory of our possessions, attitudes, relationships in order to make more room for “what matters to God.” The more room in our “barn” for the things of God, the more secure we become in God alone, the more surely we secure our eternal inheritance—eternal Life.