Parable of the Rich Fool
I heard this story of the monkey and coconut. A coconut is cut in half and then take out its contents, put something hard into it and put it together again with a chain or something to keep it firmly together while leaving a hole in it big enough for monkey to put his hand in. The monkey will not let go of what is put into it until he gets it out. It has to be something hard that you put into it, not something soft like a banana.
Sometimes we can be like that monkey if we are so attached to our material wealth and belongings. It is because we become covetous. To covet is to wish to get wrongfully what another possesses or to begrudge what God gave us. In other words, we become greed. Jesus restates the commandment “do not covet”. He also states that a person’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth,” (Matt 6:19ff). In today’s gospel Jesus tells us: “Avoid greed in all its forms.” He teaches this very emphatically in the parable about the poor rich man and calls him a fool. Jesus does not fault him for his industriousness but for his egoism, selfishness and being greedy. This man had lost the capacity to be concerned for others. In other words, He tells us that to find happiness we need to grow rich with those that matter to God rather than selfishly grow rich for ourselves.
And so let us become rich as somebody said, not with material things, but with the following: first is with the Gospel. Let us be attentive then to the Gospel and approach it with great reverence. It brings souls to be rich toward God. Do we read the Gospels with more intensity and dedication than we would a magazine of the passing interests of this world?
Second is with the Eucharist. There is no better way to become rich with those that matter to God and to be transformed by the Eucharistic Christ. Taking time to be with Christ and making this a priority is a sure way of increasing the life of grace within us. Instead of building bigger barns to store material goods, let us open our hearts and our entire souls to store up the life of the Son of God, Jesus Christ. Let us receive His body, blood, soul and divinity in the Eucharist. How many times do we visit the Eucharistic Christ? Or if we do not have that opportunity, how often do we make a spiritual communion to place ourselves spiritually in His presence?
Third is with the Cross. Another way to build up grace is through the cross, the instrument of salvation. The cross demonstrates to us that the things of this world are passing. Christ was without material things on the cross, leaving behind the little that he had: friends, family and even His mother. Nothing remained, not even the little clothing He owned. Christ had no barns to store up material goods. The cross, then, is a constant reminder to us of the way we need to live our lives, with our eyes set on the world that will never end.
At the end let us reflect these words coming from somebody who said that every life exists either to meet a need or fill greed. Meeting a need in fact is God-given while filling greed is a mission invented by man himself.
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