Vol: 43, No.43 18TH SUNDAY OF THE YEAR ( C) July 31 2016  
 
LITURGY AND LIFE

The theme of today’s Liturgy of the Word is that our security is not in material possessions but in God.
A man from the crowd approaches Jesus with a request that he serve as the judge in the division of an inheritance. Apparently the man’s older brother refused to give him what he felt was his due. The laws of inheritance stipulated that the elder brother would receive a double portion of the inheritance (Deut 21:17). If the father had no sons, his possessions were to be divided among his daughters (Num 27:1-11), but his daughters were then required to marry within their father’s tribe so that his possessions would not leave the tribe (Num 36:7-9).
Jesus rejects the role of judge or divider of inheritance. Jesus senses that greed is what prompted the man. Instead of helping the man to get his inheritance, he points the man to a different understanding of life. Life is not to be valued or measured in terms of wealth or possessions. One may gain the whole world and lose one’s soul (Lk 9:25). On the other hand, true blessing comes to those who hear the Word of God and do it (Lk 8:21; 11:28).
Just as the lawyer’s question in Luke 10 served as an introduction for the parable of the Good Samaritan, so also here the man seeking his inheritance provides the occasion for the parable of the rich fool. The issue with the rich farmer is that due to a bumper crop, the farmer has insufficient storage room for his harvest. Rather than building additional barns and thus taking up land that might otherwise be used for agricultural production in subsequent years, he elects to tear down his current storage facilities in order to make room for larger ones.
The man is rich because he has had many crops. He is a fool because he

 

thinks they secure his life “for many years to come.” When his life ends his possessions too are scattered.
Covetousness is the desire to have more than one actually needs. It not only leads to strife; it also expresses a fundamentally wrong attitude to life, according to which possessions are all that really matter. It only needs God to take away a person’s life, and at once it becomes apparent how useless possessions can be. Money cannot be everything. The rich man has failed to gain the true riches of a right relationship with God – one step towards which would certainly be through giving to the poor. Thus he is a fool; a godless and therefore senseless person.
How then should possessions be regarded? The disciples should not worry about food and clothing as if they were the most important things. The person is more important. If God feeds even carefree birds and clothes the flowers, surely he will all the more provide what is necessary for his children. In any case, worry cannot make a person live any longer. In a world in which people are crazy for better living conditions, let the disciples first seek out God’s will and his salvation; then they will find that their bodily needs are taken care of.
A televised interview with a man who had lost his house and all his possessions to a raging bush fire provides a striking contrast to the rich fool. Recalling that his brother had recently mused that they should be careful not to allow their possessions to possess them, this man who had just seen everything he owned but the shirt on his back go up in smoke announced to the reporter with a note of unexpected triumph: “I am a free man now!”

– AK
August 2016 READINGS OF THE WEEK Psalter Week 2
01 Mon (W) St Alphonsus Liguori, Jer 28:1-17/ Ps 119:29, 43, 79-80, 95, 102/ Mt 14:13-21
02 Tue (G) St Eusebius of Vercelli, & Peter Julian Eymard,
Jer 30:1-2, 12-15, 18-22/ Ps 102:16-21, 29, 22-23/ Mt 14:22-36
03 Wed (G) Jer 31:1-7/ Jer 31:10-13/ Mt 15:21-28
04 Thu (W) St John Mary Vianney, Jer 31:31-34/ Ps 51:12-15, 18-19/ Mt 16:13-23
05 Fri (W) Dedication of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major in Rome,
Num 2:1, 3; 3:1-3, 6-7/ Deut 32:35-36, 39, 41/ Mt 16:24-28
06 Sat (W) THE TRANSFIGURATION OF THE LORD, Feast,
Dan 7:9-10, 13-14/ Ps 97:1-2, 5-6, 9/ 2 Pet 1:16-19/ Lk 9:28-36
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