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October 22, 2012, Monday, Twenty-ninth Week in Ordinary Time

October 24, 2012

Luke 12:13-21And the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?


An individual in the crowd comes to Jesus for advice about inheritance.  Jewish tradition of the day would require questions of inheritance to be directed to rabbis, who would consult the Law.  The man addresses the Lord as, “Teacher” – or rabbi.  Jesus, however, abstains on principle from this family disputes over money.  So he does not reply to the man, who wants a decision, but discusses greed and the way to avoid from falling into it.  He gives the man the information needed to make the right choice for his salvation.

Greed, or avarice, Aquinas says, is the immoderate desire for earthly goods, even in situations such as power.  It is a sin of excess.  The object a person is greedy about need not be evil, but the issue lies in the way one regards the object; placing inappropriate value on it. It’s OK to make money; it’s OK, even still, to make a lot of money.  But what do you do with your wealth, your good fortune?  Greed can further lead to hoarding, theft and robbery, trickery, and manipulation.  And so, it is important to combat greed with generosity.  Just as the Father is generous with his love for us, so too, should we be generous with our love for others, especially the least fortunate among our community.

Jesus then offers us the parable of the rich fool, which is only found in Luke.  His land produces a generous harvest; so generous he doesn’t have enough storage space.  One only needs to drive around town for an hour and count how many Public Storage businesses there are to get the idea.  We are, as a society, consumed with consuming – until we have no more room for our stuff.  He even echoes Greek philosophy from Epicurus, who insists that we should eat, drink and be merry, for tomorrow we may die, and truly, God informs the rich fool of his judgment.  He was “not rich in what matters to God.”

Once again we go back to the basics: Why are we here?  God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in the next; not to know selfishness, to love material possessions, and to serve myself in this world, and to be happy with all my stuff forever in the next.  He who dies with the most toys wins?  Don’t believe it.  Earlier in Luke, Chapter 3, we are reminded by John the Baptist, “Whoever has two cloaks should share with the person who has none” (Lk 3:11).  This is how we are to be to one another.  It doesn’t matter how much we have – it matters what we do.

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