The Rich Fool

Gospel Luke 12:13-21

In today’s first reading, the preacher of the Old Testament speaks of the meaning of life. We all know that our purpose on earth is not to gather the wealth of this world and to enjoy its pleasure and power because all of it will be left behind when God calls us to His Kingdom. If we use our days properly we can earn a new life in which we shall have forever everything that we need.

In today’s Gospel, Jesus gathers us to Himself and speaks words that are not easy to hear. Let’s be open and vulnerable to the challenges in today’s Gospel.

There is a story about an empty village and a stranger enters this deserted town. Where are all the people? The signs of life are there, nothing is locked. Food is on the table, stores are open but empty of customers. He doesn’t understand but proceeds to have a wonderful time. Soon he is too drunk and happy to realise that the people of the village are on a nearby hill and are desperately trying to signal him. They had rushed outside the town because they had been told that there was a huge bomb planted in the town square which was about to go off. They had left everything to save their lives. From a distance they try vainly with gestures and shouting to warn the stranger about the bomb, taking care not to come too close. They watch him eat their food, drink their liquor and try on their clothes. But when the happy wanderer goes into the bank and flings their money into the air, they forget everything but their greed. They rush back to the village, beat up the stranger and drive him out of town. At that moment the bomb explodes and they all die, except the stranger.

Let us examine the issue of greed because it is important enough for Jesus to tell a parable about it in today’s Gospel.

Greed is when you have more than three drawers for your socks, your car needs to be a current model loaded with every gadget, your clothes must have the right label and you have every CD ever made. Let us learn the difference between needs and wants.

Once during my travels to India in a remote area, I came across a missionary priest who only had two pairs of trousers. When I asked him why, he said, “One for washing and one for wearing.” Two pairs were all he needed. Certainly we must dress well for work and daily activities but how many closets are stuffed full of clothes we seldom wear? The question we need to ask ourselves is – What do we need versus what do we want?

Jesus’ advice to us is – watch and be on guard against greed of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.

The foolishness of the rich farmer was that he looked for the purpose of his life in material wealth. He failed to realise that the real meaning of life consists in becoming rich before God, in living with God. Material wealth should not stand in the way of going to God.

Life becomes Holy by a Holy living, Dying to self and living for others leads to a Holy living. Jesus taught us and showed us the example of such a Holy living. Let us try to be true imitators of Jesus Christ. We often hear that life is short, better enjoy it. However, how about eternity, which is longer, better prepare for it.

Jesus sacrificed His life for us, dying on the cross so that we may have eternal life. The question I leave with you this morning is – Are you ready to make sacrifices for others this week and will God fit into your plan?