Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’
But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
In the parable of the rich man, we know straight away that trouble is afoot because of whom he consults about what to do with the bountiful harvest. His only dialogue partner is himself. It is to himself that he poses the question of what to do with so great a windfall. It is he himself who provides the answer. And most bizarrely of all in this pseudo-consultation, he even imagines what he will say to himself once he has successfully executed his plan. Only after this breathless monologue has run its course can God pierce through the concrete bunker in which the man has trapped himself with words that, in their harshness, express his loving mercy: “Fool!” Only this return to real dialogue can reorient the man to the happiness for which he was created, having been formed in the image of the God who is the communion of Father, Son, and Spirit.
Whom ought we to consult about what to do with the riches we ourselves possess?
Lord Jesus, open my ears and my heart to hear your voice over the babble of my own desires. May I live your love today as if I knew it were my last day on earth. Amen.
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