Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, «Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance». He replied, «My friend, who has appointed me as your judge or your attorney?». Then Jesus said to the people, «Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life».
And Jesus continued with this story, «There was a rich man and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought: ‘What shall I do? For I am short of room to store my harvest. So this is what he planned: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I may say to myself: My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself’. But God said to him: ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you; tell me who shall get all you have put aside?’. This is the lot of the one who stores up riches instead of amassing for God».
How to become rich in the eyes of the Lord? How to amass for the Lord? Though God is not against riches, which He himself has wished for the humanity, He certainly is against that this riches get amassed by very few, at the determination of others.
Many of us, including fervent Christians, fail to understand the finality of everything God has created in this world. Our intellectual capacity, our different kinds of gifts and talents that are entrusted to us, have a specific finality. Unless and until we identify these gifts and their finality, our very existence will loose the sense of life.
This rich mas has totally forgotten the contribution of others in this very sumptuous harvest, particularly the nature, his brothers and sisters, etc. If we fail to recognize the very contribution of others in our personal development, we will become very arrogant and ungrateful. It is the same behaviour which has blocked this rich man to see beyond himself.
Let us be watchful of such behaviour from our part.
Daily Quote from the early church fathers:
Surrounded by wealth, blind to charity, by Cyril of Alexandria (376-444 AD)
"'What does the rich man do, surrounded by a great supply of many blessings beyond all numbering? In distress and anxiety, he speaks the words of poverty. He says, 'What should I do?' ... He does not look to the future. He does not raise his eyes to God. He does not count it worth his while to gain for the mind those treasures that are above in heaven. He does not cherish love for the poor or desire the esteem it gains. He does not sympathize with suffering. It gives him no pain nor awakens his pity. Still more irrational, he settles for himself the length of his life, as if he would also reap this from the ground. He says, 'I will say to myself, "Self, you have goods laid up for many years. Eat, drink, and enjoy yourself." 'O rich man,' one may say, "You have storehouses for your fruits, but where will you receive your many years? By the decree of God, your life is shortened." 'God,' it tells us, 'said to him, "You fool, this night they will require of you your soul. Whose will these things be that you have prepared?" (excerpt from COMMENTARY ON LUKE, HOMILY 89)
«Even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life»
Fr. Lluc TORCAL Monk of Santa Maria de Poblet
(Santa Maria de Poblet, Tarragona, Spain)
Today, if we do not close our eyes and our ears, the Gospel will strike us through its clarity and directness: «Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life» (Lk 12:15). Where does man's life come from?
We know quite well where Jesus' life comes from, because He, himself, has told us: «For just as the Father has life in himself, so also he gave to his Son the possession of life in himself» (Jn 5:26). We all know that Jesus' life does not come only from the Father, but it also consists in abiding by his will, as the Father's will is the nourishment for Jesus, and it amounts to carry out His work of salvation among men, by offering his life for his friends, which is the greatest sign of love. Jesus' life is, therefore, a life totally received from the Father and totally handed over to the same Father and, through the love to the Father, to all men. How can human life, therefore, be sufficient per se? How can it be denied that our life is a gift we have received and, because of that, if nothing else, we have to be grateful for it? «Nobody can claim to be the master of his own life» (St. Jerome).
Following this same logic, the missing question could only be: how can our life have any meaning at all if it is a life turned in upon itself, and is satisfied by saying: «My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink and enjoy yourself» (Lk 12:19)? If Jesus' life is a gift received and a gift always given with love, our own life —that we cannot deny we have also received— ought to become, following Jesus' life, a total gift to God and to our brothers, because «Whoever loves his life loses it» (Jn 12:25).