31.07.2022 — Functional Atheist

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – 31st July 2022 — Gospel: Lk 12,13-21

Functional Atheist

The context deals about the dangerous greed of a man that is very familiar in ancient times (Sir 11,18-19). Jesus argues that greed produces an insatiable and anxious obsession with the superfluities of wealth. The rich fool and the rich man (Lk 16,19-31) parallel each other. They are not only rich, but they seem to be unconcerned with anyone except themselves. The rich fool ignores God; the rich man ignores Lazarus. Both parables continue by recounting the tragic consequences of their death leading to God’s judgment. The land brings forth an abundant yield, but of course, it is God who is the source and agent of the harvest (Ps 24,1), a fact the rich farmer does not acknowledge. Rather than seeking God’s counsel through prayer regarding how to handle his good fortune (Ps 112), the farmer soliloquizes and glorifies himself. The parable describes lot of assertive pronoun “I” with possessiveness such as “my crops”, “my barns”, “my grain”, and “my goods” (12,17-19). His future perspective is self-centred and self-indulgent, “relax, eat, drink, be merry”. The man’s response violates authentic Jewish piety, which expects that the rich will use their surplus to benefit those in need of relief (Tob 4,16). He did calculate his possessions carefully, not wisely. With no thought of his responsibilities before God or the needs of others, the rich man’s security is fleeting. Because the man trusted in his possessions instead of in God, he becomes a functional atheist, for only “the fool says in his heart, ‘There is no God’ (Ps 14,1). This farmer has failed to acknowledge the one who is the source and owner of life and the fragility and unpredictability of life.