Saint Thomas of Canterbury, Bolton

Stay with us, Lord, on our journey

Cycle C

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Luke 12:13-21

“There was once a rich man …”

Jesus did not scorn the rich, but he does, in today’s parable, give a strong message against covetousness. Truly, a most distressing feature of life is the way in which an inheritance can divide a family as we find in today's Gospel. While refusing to become involved in the dispute about the division of the inheritance, he speaks this parable to warn them against what is the root cause of the problem.

Coming suddenly and unexpectedly on good times, the rich man faces the question of what to do with his more-than-expected produce. For him, no question of giving some of it away, or of sharing it. It is his and his it will remain. Indeed, in his little world there is no one to share it with. He is alone with his possessions. He is locked in with himself. He even talks to himself because there is no one else to talk to. And he talks about his riches because there is nothing else to talk about. He assures himself that only the good time can lie ahead, so “take your ease, eat, drink, be merry”.

The attitude of Jesus to such a person is strikingly strong – “fool” he calls him. You must be a fool to believe that lasting happiness can be furnished by mere things, and things of a transitory nature at that. Life cannot be made secure by possessions, Jesus warns, and riches can produce a false sense of security and self-sufficiency. A heart full of greed is a heart with no room for others or for God. It is a heart on the road to spiritual ruin. Indeed one may wonder had the rich fool any heart at all. Not only does he not share his goods but, more tellingly, he cannot share himself with others. Now that is real poverty