THE FOOLISH RICH MAN
Are you rich before men or before God?
Below you have the Gospel reading taken from Lk 12:13-21 together with the Gospel commentary taken from the Navarre Bible Commentary to the Gospel of St. Luke.
- 15-21 After his statement in v. 15, Jesus tells the parable of the foolish rich man: what folly it is to put our trust in amassing material goods to ensure we have a comfortable life on earth, forgetting the goods of the spirit, which are what really ensure us — through God’s mercy — eternal life.
- This is how St Athanasius explained these words of our Lord: “A person who lives as if he were to die every day — given that our life is uncertain by definition — will not sin, for good fear extinguishes most of the disorder of our appetites; whereas, he who thinks he has a long life ahead of him will easily let himself be dominated by pleasures” (Against Antigonum).
- 19 This man’s stupidity consisted in making material possession his only aim in life and his only insurance policy. It is lawful for a person to want to own what he needs for living, but if possession of material resources becomes an absolute, it spells the ultimate destruction of the individual and of society. “Increased possession is not the ultimate goal of nations nor of individuals. All growth is ambivalent. It is essential if man is to develop as a man, but in a way it imprisons man if he considers it the supreme good, and it restricts his vision. Then we see hearts harden and minds close, and men no longer gather together in friendship but out of self-interest, which soon leads to strife and disunity. The exclusive pursuit of possessions thus becomes an obstacle to individual fulfilment and to man’s true greatness. Both for nations and for individuals, avarice is the most evident form of moral underdevelopment” (Paul VI, Populorum progressio, 19).
Let us ask the help of Our Lady so that we may put our hope in God, strive to be detached from what is material, so that we may perceive and possess what is spiritual, which is what really makes rich before God.