Friday, September 30, 2016

The Parable of the Rich Fool

In St Luke’s Gospel (12: 16-21) we read the parable of the rich fool. This is a very important parable for our understanding of what is important and what our priorities should be in life. It is apparent that we do not know the day when we will depart from this world. But, that is why it should be imperative for us to be ready for such an occasion, as is evident in the parable of the wise and foolish virgins (Matthew 25: 1-13). Following is the parable of the rich fool,

The Lord told this parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no room to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your soul is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” When he had said this, he cried, “Those who have ears to hear, let them hear!”
St Basil the Great, among other Church Fathers, has commented on the above parable, explaining:
“But whom do I treat unjustly,” you say, “by keeping what is my own?” Tell me, what is your own? What did you bring into this life? From where did you receive it? It is as if someone were to take the first seat in the theatre, then bar everyone else from attending, so that one person alone enjoys what is offered for the benefit of all in common - this is what the rich do. They seize common goods before others have the opportunity, then claim them as their own by right of pre-emption. For if we all took only what was necessary to satisfy our own needs, giving the rest to those who lack, no one would be rich and no one would be poor… But what do we find in this man? … an unwillingness to give. This is the return he made to his Benefactor. He forgot that we all share the same nature; he felt no obligation to distribute his surplus to the needy … Greed would not permit him to part with anything he possessed, and yet because he had so much there was no place to store his latest harvest … “What should I do?” It would have been so easy to say: “I will feed the hungry. I will open my barns and call in all the poor.”[1]

[1] Bulletin of Spiritual Edification, 22November 2015, No. 1415, p.1. 

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