The man who is truly rich is not the one who acquires the whole earth and yet loses all of them at the end of his life. To consider one as a rich man, America says he must have at least a net worth of $2.3 million. But still, at the end of his life, a man discovers that everything He acquires in this world vanishes into the thin air. Where then lies the value of all his possessions since he cannot take them to the world beyond? Thus the man who is truly rich is not one who loses everything he acquires at the end of his life.
Secondly, the man who is truly rich is not one who wants to acquire everything to himself. Sometimes he does this using any means at his disposal, even to the detriment of others. He is not truly a rich man who thinks of himself only. He can even do anything to frustrate the life of others to get what He wants but at the end of His life, He discovers that life is vanity upon vanity. What essence are our possessions if we acquire everything to the detriment of others and at the end lose them to the dust?
In the Gospel
In the gospel of today, A man from the crowd requests that Jesus instructs his brother to give him a share of his father’s inheritance. An analysis of the request shows that the man may be the younger one. It may be that the father is no longer alive. There is also the probability that the elder brother has refused to share their inheritance.
There is also a necessity that the elder brother wants to acquire everything. It may be that he wants to leave his younger brother with nothing. It may also be that he did not give the younger brother the inheritance that is truly deserved of him.
From the request, one can suggest that there is already a squabble between them that lead the younger one to come to the public and voice his frustration.
The man takes Jesus as a rabbi because rabbis can customarily give decisions on disputed points of law. But instead of Jesus to be a judge, in this case, Jesus uses it to teach the people the worthlessness and meaninglessness of earthly possessions.
This does not mean that Jesus is condoning injustice. In essence, Jesus uses that opportunity to bring out the evil effect of selfishness and greediness when it comes to earthly possessions.
The parable today is directed not just to the younger son who demands justice but to the elder brother who tries to acquire everything for himself. This in essence teaches that two things that can easily destroy a family bond are selfishness and greediness.
This happens when a member of the family decides to acquire everything only to himself, trying to leave others frustrated. It is also the case when members of a family only compete among themselves on who is to be the one to be worshipped instead of working harmoniously with one another.
Today, people struggle over land, animals, houses, inheritance etc. Sometimes they kill themselves over these. This is not because they do not know the truth of who is the actual owner of the possession, they do this because of greediness, selfishness and extreme hunger for earthly possession. This sometimes leads to fighting, quarrelling, envy, hatred, etc. Jesus teaches us that all these are meaningless if we can understand the shortness of life.
Life does not end in this world. The man who is truly rich is one who knows this and applies caution in everything he does.
The Problem with the Rich Man in the Parable
Jesus tells a parable of the rich man who continues to enlarge his barns to store all grains and goods from his farm. Because of the largeness of his produce, he now promises his soul everlasting enjoyment. But God sees Him as a fool why?
- What actually we might see in this man is the eagerness to work hard and enrich his household. We see in him the ingenuity to invest in his barn. Because of this, he thinks he will have an easy life. But Jesus says in the gospel that even when someone acquires more than he thinks, life does not consist in earthly possessions. The rich man thinks his life depends on what he acquires. He forgets it is only God who gives and takes life.
- The rich man thinks only of himself and how he is going to enjoy life. In him, one will see signs of selfishness.
- He is more interested in earthly treasures than the treasure that lasts forever. Jesus says that what happened to the man is what truly happens when one stores up treasure for himself in this world and forgets his soul. Death takes us unawares because we are unable to prepare for our final end.
The Man Who is Truly Rich
At death, a man sees that all the things he has been suffering to gain ends within a twinkle of an eye. But yet he does not pay attention to the life beyond until everything takes him unawares. The wise man knows this and takes precaution in whatever he does.
The man who is truly rich is one who is rich in God. He knows that earthly possessions do not last. And in everything he does, he thinks of his eternal life. He is the man who knows that earthly glory is short-lived but heavenly glory lasts forever. He is truly rich, he who gains the richness of the life that lasts forever.
The man who is truly rich is the man who does not only think of himself. He does not live a self-centred life but consider the happiness of those around Him. He helps people not for his self-glory but for the glory of God. So the man who is truly rich is one who gains the heavenly riches and glory at last. His life and joy do not end in this world but continues in the world after.
May God bless you dearest and give us the grace to become rich in His glory. May our efforts and suffering in this world pave way for our eternal glory. Amen
Fr Sanctus Mario