weep and howl
for the miseries that are coming upon you.
Most of us would not consider ourselves rich, so today’s first reading (James 5:1-6) should not apply to us, right?
As I’ve said before, it is dangerous to hear the warnings of Scripture and assume that these warnings apply only to someone else.
Even if we feel that we are not rich or that we are deprived in some way, there are always people whose deprivation is worse.
Compared to others, we may be much richer than we think.
Does that mean we should wallow in guilt for any comfort or that we must throw everything away and afflict ourselves? No.
First of all, we must make sure that our hearts are truly set on the things of heaven, and not on the things of this world.
Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.
If our hearts and happiness are dependent on the things of this world, then we are in trouble, for the world and its allurements are passing away (1 John 2:17).
Then the warnings of this first reading will come to pass in bitter reality.
Your wealth has rotted away,
your clothes have become moth-eaten,
your gold and silver have corroded,
and that corrosion will be a testimony against you;
it will devour your flesh like a fire.
You have stored up treasure for the last days....
You have lived on earth in luxury and pleasure;
you have fattened your hearts for the day of slaughter.
(Lord Jesus Christ, son of the living God, have mercy on me – a sinner.)
Some people hoard their time and resources for their own selfish pleasure, storing up "treasure" – "treasure" that will stand in accusation against them at the Day of Judgment.
By the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, we need to store up treasure for eternity.
Again, we should not let these warnings cause us to wallow in guilt or to throw everything away in panic.
Rather we should take these warnings as a reminder to use well whatever time, talent, or treasure we may have – no matter how little – to help people in need and to give glory to God.
Help me, O Lord.
Let me find my true comfort in serving you.