Last week we talked about the theme of community in the Lord’s Prayer. The Gospel reading for this Sunday continues to explore the important topic of community and invites us to reflect and examine it in the context of stewardship. The Parable of the Rich Fool is about a man who had a tremendously successful year. His harvest was so abundant that he was worried about what he was going to do and how he was going to store it all. He was determined to find a solution that would allow him to store and save his wealth, so as he describes it, “I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” (Luke 12:19). God’s response is immediate and harsh, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you’ (Luke 12:20).
Why such harsh punishment and response? What did this man do so wrong? He did not steal from anyone, he did not lie or cheat. He was simply trying to invest, save and enjoy what belonged to him. To truly understand and appreciate the parable’s Biblical message, we need to read it attentively and especially pay close attention to the number of personal pronouns found in the rich man’s self-dialogue.
“He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store my surplus grain. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’ Eleven personal pronouns and not a single mention of God – the source of every blessing and gift, no charity or mercy, any suggestion or desire to share his blessings with his community or the poor and hungry. And this is exactly the attitude and perspective that triggers divine anger and punishment.
How is this parable relevant to us today? And what does the Gospel invite us to learn from this story? Many of us worked very hard and went through many difficulties to get where we are in life today and ensure our families’ financial safety and security. But in the midst of it all it is very easy to form an unhealthy bond and relationship with money, success and achievement. Often we might overlook the role of God and forget that He alone is the source of every blessing in our lives. Our relationship with money is the purest mirror and accurate indicator of our faith. What image do we see when we look into this mirror? Do we, like the rich fool, only see our own reflection? Do we recognize the role of God and give thanks to him for kindness and love? Do we share our blessings and success with our community and church, with the poor and needy around us? Today, the Holy Gospel of our Savior and Church invite and encourage us to reflect and examine our relationship and attitude towards money, success, sharing and stewardship, to give thanks to God for all we have and consider becoming good stewards by sharing our blessings with our community and those around us.
Note: Last week we mailed your 2022 Stewardship brochure. It is a perfect opportunity to embrace and incorporate stewardship into your life, faith and support our beloved church by sharing your treasure, time and talent with our community. You can be part of this great campaign and pledge online here.