Posted by: Chuck | August 12, 2013

THE GREEDY RICH


Saint Peter's Basilica and Square

Saint Peter’s Basilica and Square (Photo credit: Søren Hugger Møller)

Once there was a chronic gambler who said: “I would do anything, even the devil’s work, to see the lotto winning numbers ahead of the draw. I would become the richest man in the world.” He got his wish. A messenger came to his door and handed him a newspaper dated one week ahead. Excited, the man turned to the page where the winning numbers were listed. There before his eyes were all the numbers that would entitle him to win millions of pesos. He was excited about what he would do with all the money. But as he turned the pages, his heart skipped a beat when he saw his name printed in big, bold prints – in the obituary! On the day he wins all those millions, he will die.

The story may well parallel the parable of Christ in this Sundaygospel concerning the rich fool (Lk 12:13-21). Jesus understands our craving for security, but we should not forget the security of eternal life beyond death.

Church of the Primacy of St. Peter on the Sea ...

Church of the Primacy of St. Peter on the Sea of Galilee. Traditional site where Jesus Christ appeared to his disciples after his resurrection and, according to Catholic tradition, established Peter’s supreme jurisdiction over the Christian church. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The rich farmer in the parable could be an land owner growing rice in Nueva Ecija or corn or mango in Cebu.

 An abundant harvest forces him to tear down his existing barns and build even larger ones. With all his possessions snugly secured, he congratulates himself on a job well done. He has security. He has proved himself to be a good planner, a man respected in the community. And yet Christ calls him a fool! Why? There is no indication that he was dishonest or cheated anyone. What then was wrong with him?

 The answer is: He was greedy. That’s why Jesus says this before telling the parable, “Avoid greed in all its forms.  A man may be wealthy, but his possessions do not guarantee him life.” He wants security in the future, but he does not look FAR ENOUGH into the future beyond death to a security that only God can guarantee.

There’s a story about a wealthy matron who died and went to heaven. St. Peter escorted her down a magnificent boulevard on which rows of mansions stood. The rich lady saw one house that was exceptionally beautiful and asked who lived there.

“You will be surprised,” said St. Peter. “That is the home of your katulong (helper).” “Well,” the lady said smiling, “if my helper gets a place like that, I certainly will own a grander mansion.”

Soon they came to an iskinita (alley) where the houses were cramped. St. Peter stopped and said, “Lady, you will live in that hut.”

“Me, live in that hovel! This is an insult. On earth I was rich and famous!”

“I understand, but this is the best we can do for you,” explained St. Peter. “You must understand that we only build your home up here with the material you send ahead while you’re still on earth.” The materials we are supposed to send ahead are obviously not cement, sand, and gravel but our good works and doing God’s will in daily life.

Certainly we have to work and to save for the future, but we are sadly mistaken if we think that our possessions will give us the kind of security we really need.

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