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Be rich or poor, but not a fool

By telling the parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus warns us to be aware not become slaves of this world. Two things stand out about the rich fool in the parable:

First, that he never saw beyond himself. There is no other parable that is so full of the words “I”, “me”, and “mine”. The rich fool was self-centered. When this rich fool had an abundance of goods the only thing that did not enter his mind was to give any of it away. His whole attitude was the very reverse of Christianity. Instead of denying himself he aggressively affirmed himself; instead of finding his happiness in giving he tried to conserve it by keeping.

The Romans had a proverb which said that money was like sea-water: the more a man drank the thirstier he became. And as long as our attitude is that of a rich fool our desire will always be to get more for ourselves – and that is the reverse of the Christian way.

The second thing that stands out about the rich fool is that he never saw beyond this world. His plans never reached beyond this life. There is a story of a conversation between a young and ambitious man and an older man who knew life. The young man said: “I will learn my trade”, “And then?” said the older man, “I will set up my own business”, “And then?” “I will make my fortune”, “And then?” “I suppose that I shall grow old and retire and live on my money.” “And then?” came the last stabbing question.

The man who never remembers that there is another world is destined some day for the grimmest of grim shocks.

The lesson is very clear. We are called into something greater than this world. We are invited to live as children of God, rather than as children of this world. We are much more than the sum of our possessions. God wants to make us free, and there is no freedom like the freedom from identifying with what we own. After all it does not matter whether we are rich or poor, for one could just as well be a rich fool or a poor fool. We are called to be wise and not foolish; wise by knowing what is really important in life. May we not fall in the traps that the rich fool fell into by being selfish and without faith. Let us be people of lived out faith, loving others by sharing what we have so that we can look forward to eternity in Heaven

Fr. Wojtek Kuzma


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