29th Week in Ord. Time, Monday – 19th October 2020 — Gospel: Lk 12,13-21
Death clarifies Life’s priority
Why is the rich farmer called a fool? We can argue that the rich man is a wise and responsible person, for he worked hard and saved wisely. He has a thriving farming business, for his land produced abundantly. He would be a good financial advisor, as he has plans to build up his storage barns. He has ample savings set aside for the future in order to enjoy his golden years. Isn’t this what we are encouraged to strive for? Isn’t it wise and responsible to save for the future? The rich farmer is a fool not because he is wealthy or saves for the future, but because he has not planned for his calculation with God. He turns out to be a fool because he never sees beyond himself and his needs. For the rich man never expresses a sense of gratitude to God or to the workers who helped him plant and harvest this bumper crop. He never thought of sharing it with others, or what God might require of him to do. He is blind to the fact that even his life is not secure in his own hands, that his life belongs to God, and that God can demand it back at any time.
The rich man learns the hard way what the writer of Ecclesiastes realized, that you can’t take with you after this life, your hard earned possessions. All that we work so hard for in life will end up in someone else’s hands (Eccl. 2,18). Ecclesiastes puts it, “Who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity” (Eccl. 2,19; cf. 2,21 &26; 6,2). The rich man should realize that “his soul” doesn’t need wealth and possessions. He must prioritize God who secures his life, for God does think of him and all his plans. Indeed, Jesus teaches through this parable that death has a way of clarifying what really matters in life.