CATHOLIC NEWS OF THE WEEK . Saturday, 20 October 2018

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Accumulating for yourself is mad

One day Jesus was chosen as mediator to solve one of these messy family agreements. The situation presented to him has arisen because one has attempted to commit an injustice and the other is in danger of suffering from it. What to do?

Despite some bickering between brothers, in general, they love each other. Until when? 

Until the day, they are not called to share the inheritance. In front of money and property, even the best of people, Christians too, often end up losing their heads and become blind and deaf: they see only their own interest and are willing to override even the most sacred of sentiments. 

Instead of solving the individual case, Jesus chooses to go to the root of the problem. 

He tells everyone to be on their guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though they have many possessions, they are not what gives them life.

Jesus singles out the cause of all evil: the greed of money, the desire to grab things. To clarify his thought he tells a parable, the central part of which consists of a long argument that the rich farmer has with himself.

Has this farmer—we wonder—no family, wife, children? No neighbours? No workers? Of course he has. He lives among the people, but he does not see them. 

He has no time, no energy to use, no thoughts, no words and no feeling for the people. In his mind there is no room for anything else, certainly not for God.

The assets are the idol that has created a vacuum around him and has dehumanised all. 

The judgment of God is heavy: whoever lives to accumulate assets is a fool! 

Is wealth thus bad? Absolutely not. Jesus has never condemned it; he never asked anyone to throw it away, but he warned against the serious dangers that it hides.

The ideal of a Christian is not a miserable life. At the end of the parable the mistake made by the rich farmer is pointed out.

He is not condemned because it has produced many goods, worked hard, was committed, but because “he has amassed for himself” and “has not enriched himself in the sight of God.”

Here are the two woes produced by being blinded by wealth. The first: to enrich yourself for yourself, accumulating wealth for self only without thinking of others.

Incompatible with the gospel is greed, the insatiable craving for possessions, like the farmer in the parable. The second woe: having excluded God from our own life, replacing him with an idol. 

This choice leads to madness and the most obvious symptom is the removal of the thought of death. He imagines that he is eternal. 

Is a poor man not affected by this parable? Jesus does not warn those with great wealth, only those who accumulate it for themselves. 

You can have only a little money but have the heart of the rich

Everyone should be aware that the treasures of this world are treacherous, they do not accompany us to the other life.

 

Father Fernando Armellini SCJ        
Claretian Publications
https://sundaycommentaries.wordpress.com