The Parable of the Rich Fool

SHOOTING STRAIGHT - Valeriano Avila - The Freeman

It’s the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time and this time, we get to read another parable that our Lord Jesus Christ taught his disciples and you can find this parable in Luke 12:13-21, which is The Parable of the Rich Fool.

13 Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” 14 Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” 15 Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.”

16 And he told them this parable: “The ground of a certain rich man yielded an abundant harvest. 17 He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ 18 “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. 19 And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.”’

20 “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’

21 “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves but is not rich toward God.”

* * *

What does Jesus teaches us in today’s gospel? First of all, when someone asked him to inform his brother to divide his inheritance with him he was practically asking the Lord to become an arbiter or judge and divide his inheritance with his brother equally. Apparently in ancient times, the elder brother or the first-born gets a bigger share or even half of their family’s inheritance, which the other siblings apparently found not equitable. I don’t know how and why this was so in the olden days, but I guess many people found this as not an equitable way of distributing a man’s inheritance. Also women often are not given anything simply because they were women.

But then the Lord replied to the man, “Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; life does not consist in an abundance of possessions.” While he did not act as judge in his inheritance case, he gave the man an idea of what to do with God’s blessings to families. Yes, it’s high time for us to accept the truism that our inheritances are really God’s blessings to our families and therefore it should be divided equally amongst all siblings.

So now we go to the other story in today’s gospel reading, about the Parable of the Rich Fool, who apparently had a bountiful harvest and didn’t know what to do. So in the end, he decided to destroy his small barns and build bigger ones to store his surplus grain and take things easy, eat, and be merry. This happens to many when they have acquired great wealth and don’t know what to do with it.

Apparently, we see this story happening in Philippine society today. Too many people have gotten rich blessings from God and most of them don’t know what to do with so much money. They end up buying expensive properties and luxury cars that cost more than homes. But one thing they don’t know is that life is not about earning or gathering extreme wealth because life, after all, is much more than having an abundance of possessions.

So in the Parable of the Rich Fool, a man decides to take life easy after he rebuilds his barn and observes an easy life, eating, drinking, and being merry. What he doesn’t know is that it was to be his last day on earth as God had other plans for him. If only this man knew what was to happen to him, perhaps he would have come up with his life, going out of his way to help the poor and the needy, which is why God gave him so many blessings. How many people do you know got so rich in their lives only to get terminally ill? Perhaps, they did not know about the story of the Parable of the Rich Fool. But it is not too late for you to change your ways and follow the teachings of Jesus.

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