Reflection 4th August 2019

A Reflection for the Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time

Lk: 12: 13-21 (

Storage, by Mary Oliver


When I moved from one house to another
there were many things I had no room for. 
What does one do?  I rented a storage space. 
And filled it. 
Years passed.
Occasionally I went there and looked in,
but nothing happened, not a single twinge of the heart.
As I grew older the things I cared about grew fewer,
but were more important. 
So one day I undid the lock and called the trash man. 
He took everything.
I felt like the little donkey when his burden is finally lifted. 
Things! Burn them, burn them! Make a beautiful fire!
More room in your heart for love, for the trees!
For the birds who own nothing – the reason they can fly.                                                                                          


Many of us can identify with the sentiments in this poem.  It resonates also with the gospel message for today’s Mass.

The rich man knew how to get the best out of his farm so that it produced a great crop that ensured he had no financial burdens.  His only concern was how he could store it all safely and sit back, relax and enjoy his life. 

Listening to a discussion recently around plans for a new house, the big outcry was to make sure, that as part of the plan, there was sufficient storage space.

Marketing, to a greater or lesser degree, controls our lives, convincing us that we need this and that, constantly making us aware of what we don’t have.  We suffer from overload; hence we carry around the burden of trying to find space for everything.

Perhaps the gospel / poem helps us clarify our attitude to owning a lot of things. What would it feel like to call the ‘trash man’ and let all the non-essentials go?

Imagine the feeling, like the little donkey, of no longer carrying the burden of worry, anxiety or clutter.

Things! Burn them! Make a beautiful fire!
More room in your heart for love, for the trees!
For the birds whom own nothing – the reason they can fly!

Joe Beere C.S.Sp. – Ordained in 1963, Fr. Joe is from Co. Laois. He missioned for many years in Sierra Leone. In Ireland his many roles have included teaching, administrative and pastoral.