Monday of the 29th Week of the Year

Luke 12:13-21

Parable of the Rich Fool

OTHER HOMILY SOURCES:

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 tells us that to find happiness we need to grow rich in the sight of God rather than selfishly grow rich for ourselves. Jesus teaches us responsible, generous stewardship – of our time, our talents, and our treasures. In the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians, he reminds us of this same truth – we are to lead lives of good deeds. This is a manifestation and a living out of our faith which will lead us to our true treasure in heaven. (Fr. Emeterio dela Paz, SVD Bible Diary 2002).

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Two brothers tended the farm that their parents left them. The elder was married and had four children. The younger was single. The older brother had his house built in the east side, while the younger on the opposite side. After one abundant harvest the younger brother thought, “It is not fair that my brother and I equally divide the harvest. I am alone and my brother has a family.” Not to embarrass his older brother, he would open his barn at midnight, take one sack of palay and bring it quietly into the barn of his brother. Unknown to him, the older brother thought the same: “It is not fair that we equally divide the harvest. My brother lives alone, while I have a wife and children to help and take care of me.” So at two o’clock in the morning he would bring one sack of palay to the barn of his younger brother. One dark and rainy night the two brothers bumped into each other in the middle of the field. Both fell down carrying their sacks of palay. When they recognized each other and realized what each was doing, they laughed and hugged each other.

This story is the opposite of the story of the rich fool in the gospel today. Whereas the two brothers opened their barns to share their wealth with each other, the rich man in the gospel did not; in the eyes of God he was rich but fool. Being foolish means to keep on getting, while being godly means to keep on sharing. True riches which we can bring to heaven are those we let go and give away, especially when it hurts.

Alexander the Great instructed his officials that when he dies, his hands should not be bound as tradition dictated; instead they should lave them open and could be seen by all, to drive home the point that when he goes, he would be empty-handed. (Fr. Atilano Corcuera, SVD Bible Diary 2005)

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According to legend, Bacchus once offered Midas a choice of gifts. Midas asked that whatever he touches will turn into gold. Bacchus consented, though sorry that Midas had not made a better choice. Midas went his way rejoicing with his new acquired power which he quickly put to test. He could scarcely believe his eyes when he plucked a twig of an oak it became gold in his hand. He took up a stone, it changed to gold. He touched sod, picked up an apple, they all turned to gold. Everything he touched turned to gold, including food and wine? In consternation, fearing starvation, he held up his arms to Bacchus and besought him to take back his gift. Bacchus said, “Go to the River Pactolus, trace the stream to its fountainhead, there plunge your head and body in and wash away your fault and its punishment.” Thus Midas learned to hate wealth and splendor.

Wealth and power go together. They can create certain influence on weak and vulnerable persons like you and me. Thus the Lord in the gospel today warns us outright to take care against all greed. The reason is that greed can multiply itself and bring forth other cardinal sins. Greed will completely eradicate the value of love and service – the very core of Jesus’ life and mission.

Jesus then simply saying that true riches are not things that glitter; real riches are immaterial and intangible. Our Lord is likewise saying that joy will always run short if it is founded on something that temporarily satisfies the monetary needs of an individual. For indeed real joy liberates and does not burden the heart. (Fr. Andy Guban, SVD Bible Diary 2007)

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Cardinal Gaudencio Rosales’ Pondo ng Pinoy project, the 25-centavo love offering, illustrates a good philosophy: Ano mang gawang mabuti kahit maliit basta’t malimit ay daang patungo sa langit (No matter how small a good work is as long as it is done always is a sure way to heaven), pondo ng Pinoy’s Philosophy is a powerful challenge to a culture of having, of too much attachment to big ideas, big dreams, big riches or big possessions. Issues of heaven and salvation start with something small, with little crumbs.

Jesus strongly warns against the danger of riches, greed and earthly possessions. He says, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions,” (Luke 12:15). Jesus advocates a morally good life as a real treasure that matters the most. The Bible is replete with such themes. Old Testament wisdoms teaches that real treasure consists in living well, having fear of the Lord, or in doing God’s will. The beatitudes in Matthew speak about being “happy” or “blessed: when detached from riches.

Pondo ng Pinoy, though it starts from something small, is rich in the value of sharing. The Christian becomes rich only by sharing. Sharing is rich only in so far as it gives meaning, when it teaches and inspires people, when it builds hope among the hopeless.

When we come home at the end of the day and feel tired of not having done so much for what it takes to earn more for a living, perhaps we have missed out the greater part of living, that of being happy, being in love and of having peace and serenity. Are those not the real treasures? (Fr. Roland Aquino, SVD Bible Diary 2008)

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Our Lord refuses to be drawn into domestic problems and rightly so. For when it comes to family disputes, resolutions are not without bitterness. Disputing parties will always come with greed in their hearts and anger in their minds, because their thoughts are focused more on the material things and on themselves. In today’s gospel, Jesus refuses to be an arbiter but seizes the opportunity to preach on greed.

Most of the times, we use all our energy to invest on material wealth. “Fool,” says the God of judgment, “to whom will all this piled-up wealth of yours go?” There was once an SVD father, a foreigner, who saved all his monthly allowances so that by the end of the year he could give it to a beggar.

Let us enjoy the fruits of the earth, and the blessings of modern technology. But too much attachment to worldly things tend to suffocate and confuse our priorities. For where our treasure is there our hearts will be. (Fr. Antolin Uy, SVD Bible Diary 2009)

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October 17, 2016 Monday

When we die, we cannot bring along with us anything that we own. That is why Jesus challenges us to focus on things that really matter.  If we were going to die next week, what would we need to do so that our last day on earth would become worthwhile? I threw this question to a group of professionals at their Lenten recollection.

Their first answer was forgiveness – asking and giving forgiveness especially to those whom they had hurt and had hurt them. It feels ethereal realizing that before we die we can resolve our conflicts with people whom we have not talked with for years. The heart of Christianity, the very core of  Jesus’ teaching is to forgive and be forgiven. Secondly, they mentioned the desire to spend special and quality time with their family. Most of today’s working parents are preoccupied with their jobs, distorting, in a way, emotional support for their children. The desire to be with our family gives as an assurance that whatever happens, we have our family to lean on. Lastly, they said they wanted to be happy and enjoy life to the fullest. Some people may have forgotten to live and enjoy life because of too much work. They are so preoccupied with family and workplace problems that they forget living life to the fullest. We are challenged to reevaluate our priorities in life because we only live once.

These were sentiments of people who realized that they were not in control of everything. In today’s Gospel, Jesus reminds us to focus on things that really matter. We only live once. We should be grateful for all our blessings and make the most out of them. (Fr. Roger Solis, SVD HNU, Bohol Bible Diary 2016)

rveritas-asia.org/daily-reflection/955-october-17-2016-monday

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Weekly Guide for Daily Prayer

Romans 4:20-25
Luke 1:69-70, 71-72, 73-75
Luke 12:13-21

Today’s gospel reading confronts us with a reality that some of us do not like to be reminded of. The reality of death. All of us know that we are going to die. But we don’t know just when our death will occur. Some of us are very uncomfortable when thinking about death. We don’t like to face the unknown, and there is much about death that is unknown.

Today Jesus gives us a powerful lesson in the parable of the rich man. This man is a farmer, and it seems that he has a very large and prosperous farm. His farm has just produced a bumper crop of grain. The crop is so large that he has to build more and larger barns in which to store his grain. Now that the harvest is over, the farmer plans to rest and enjoy life. Jesus quotes him as telling himself that he now is in good shape for many years and can take life easy. He plans to “rest, eat, drink, be merry.” In other words he plans to live a life of leisure. This rich man is very worldly and his goal is to now live a life of comfort, ease and pleasure. His wealth makes him selfish. He plans only for himself and his comfort. He does not think of others and makes no provision for his wealth and his farm when he is no longer there to oversee it.

And now Jesus gives us the punch line of this parable. He delivers it suddenly and sharply. Just as the rich man has completed his plans for the future, God says to him, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you.” God’s words are sudden and sharp, and there is no hiding from them. Death is inevitable. There is no way that the rich man can bargain for more time. And there is no time to redo his past life. This man is going to have to give to God an accounting for his earthly life this very night. Then God asks another question of the rich man. “and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” Again, the rich man has no answer. He has made no provision for his wealth and his goods once he is dead.

As we read this gospel we might think that this rich man did not get an even break. We might argue that he needed more time to put his affairs in order and to prepare himself for judgment. But Jesus answers this objection also. In the last line of this reading he tells that this is what happens when a person selfishly stores up wealth only for himself and is not willing to share or help those less fortunate than himself. Such a person is not rich in what matters to God. And I think that that is the point of this parable.

We all are called to know and love and follow Jesus. We are called to read about his life here on earth. We are called to listen to his teaching and to obey his commands. By doing this we become rich in what matters to God. But we must do this continually during our lives here on earth. We can’t put off following Jesus until some future date because we don’t know how much longer our life might last. We have time now to begin to grow rich in what matters to God. We might not have time later on. As we look around us in today’s world, we can see people who are like the rich man of the parable. They accumulate great wealth in order to live a worldly life of ease and comfort and pleasure. They are selfish and think only of themselves and their own happiness. They give no indication of being concerned about life after death. Unless they change their ways, they risk the same fate that befell the rich man of today’s parable. Today I pray that the parable in this gospel reading may help all of us who read it to learn the lesson it teaches. May we all become rich in what matters to God.

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Wealth and material resources are not really what Jesus is against of. Poverty as an avoidable state of life, a state of life that condemns one to live in dire need, is never preached by the gospel as something that we should pray for. It is a poverty that is a choice of being attached to God amidst all material needs that is hailed as a virtue. A beautiful prayer from the Book of Proverbs (30:7-9) states: “…..give me neither poverty nor riches; provide me only with the food I need; lest, being full, I deny you, saying: “Who is the Lord? Or being in want, I steal, and profane the name of the Lord.”

Jesus had also rich friends and acquaintances: the family of Martha and Mary, Nicodimus who was a member of the Sanhedrin, Zachaeus whom tradition points out to be the husband of Veronica.

The point of Jesus is disposition. The rich and those who are abundantly gifted usually have the tendency to be too focused on the “I”! They tend to be self-sufficient. No wonder, God had to break the big “I” of St. Paul, the military “I” of Ignatius, the pleasure-seeking “I” of Augustine before God could use them. (Fr. Domie Guzman SSP New Every Morning New Everyday, 2006 p. 308)

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Monday, October 19, 2015

MONDAY OF THE 29TH WEEK IN ORDINARY TIME (YEAR B) – LUKAS 12:13-21. ANGAY BA NATONG AWAYAN ANG KABTANGAN NGA KALIBOTANON? Subo palandongon nga adunay managsilingan, managhigala, o gani managsoon nga mag-away tungod sa yuta o bahandi nga ilang giilogan. Ang sambingay ni Kristo angay nilang pamalandongan. Usa ka tawo ang naghunahuna nga magpahayahay na lang tungod kay daghan na kaayo ang iyang natigom nga bahandi. Pero, usa ka adlaw niana ang Dios nag-ingon sa maong tawo “Oy, buang! Karong gabhiona mamatay ka; kinsa naman unya ang manag-iya sa bahandi nga imong gitigom?” Pinaagi sa maong sugilanon, gitudloan kita ni Kristo nga dili manghambog ug dili maglinaog sa bahandi. Adunay panultihon: “No matter how big your house is, how big your bank account is, the grave is still going to be the same size – Stay Humble!” Posted by Abet Uy

abetuy.blogspot.com/2015/10/monday-of-29th-week-in-ordinary-time.html

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Monday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time C

Eph 2: 1-10; Lk: 12:13-21

Possessions

Luke’s gospel exhibits a special interest in the poor and often cautions against greed: ‘A man’s life is not made secure by what he owns’. This is a recurring theme in Jesus’ teaching. ‘Blessed are you poor’ is the first of his Beatitudes. But it was very hard for the Jews to digest, as wealth is considered by them to be a blessing from God.

Today’s gospel passage teaches us the contrary. Possessions can become false gods, and people often worship such gods. It is common experience that those who have most want most.  This must be because they don’t really have what they have: it doesn’t fulfil them; it is only a bait for further accumulation.  Greed is a bottomless pit and nothing will ever fill it.

How do we measure our wealth?  Usually we measure it by checking how much we have, but the truth is that our real wealth consists in what we freely give- give to God and to our fellow beings- the time, the energy, the knowledge, a loving gesture, a beautiful smile, a small pat on the back… all these will go a long way in defining our wealth. For, our life is so very uncertain and the possessions that we accumulate for the world to come only would stand us in good stead. The rich man of today’s gospel is called a fool precisely for this reason. He possessed everything- just for this world and did not earn anything for the next. He was full of himself and did not think about anybody else. He depended on himself and not on God. He thought he had made it for many years to come. But, Ah! The uncertainty of life! See what God says to him, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you”.

The psychology of possession is full of paradoxes.  Wealthy people, by spending their lives accumulating wealth, prove how poor they feel; because it is not what one has that counts before God but what one is. People who feel deeply enriched within themselves are those who spend all they have and all that they are in the service of others. This makes them rich in the sight of God.

Greed will completely eradicate the value of love and service but selfless giving will bring in everlasting joy. Therefore the gospel passage challenges us to know the freedom and joy of giving. For, true riches are not always that which is glittering, real riches are immaterial and intangible. Our joy will always run short if it is founded on material riches.

Therefore let us place our lives in the hands of the Lord, only our faith and trust in Him would give us that everlasting peace and joy. Fr. V. J. Joshi CMI 

navchetana.com/web/homilies.php?date=2016-10-17

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October 17, 2016

The saint we are remembering today is particularly interesting for various reasons.

First, although he is one of the earliest figures of the Church, we know more about him than we know about much later saints.

Second, according to Eusebius, the first historian of the Church, ­Ignatius was probably the third bishop of Antioch, namely, the second bishop of that city after the apostle Peter (Hist. Eccl. 3:22).

Third, under the reign of Emperor Trojan (98-117), he was condemned to death for his faith and ordered to be taken to Rome, there to be eaten alive by wild beasts.

Fourth, during his journey to Rome, Ignatius wrote 7 letters to various churches. These give interes­ting information about the Christian faith at that time.
Fifth, the Christians of Rome having planned to have his sentence reduced, Ignatius pleaded with them to let him die as a martyr. To them he wrote: “I am the wheat of Christ, ground by the teeth of beasts to become pure bread.” He died probably in 107 A.D.

This great man continues to inspire us today, twenty centuries after his death, like a star whose light reaches us after the star has burned out.

schoolofthewordonline.com/scriptural-library/daily-gospel/english/item/3676-october-17-2016

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See Today’s Readings: Year I,   Year II

Back to: Monday of the 29th  Week of the Year

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