Father Steven Reilly, LC
podcast version here.
Someone in the crowd
said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to share
the inheritance with me." He replied to him, "Friend,
who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?" Then
he said to the crowd, "Take care to guard against
all greed, for though one may be rich, one´s
life does not consist of possessions." Then he told
them a parable. "There was a rich man whose
land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ´What shall
I do, for I do not have space to
store my harvest?´ And he said, ´This is what I
shall do: I shall tear down my barns and
build larger ones. There I shall store all my
grain and other goods and I shall say to myself,
"Now as for you, you have so many good
things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be
merry!" But God said to him, ´You fool, this
night your life will be demanded of you; and
the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?´
Thus will it be for the one who stores
up treasure for himself but is not rich in
what matters to God."
Introductory Prayer: O God, I come
to you today with all my human frailty. You
know me better than I know myself. I am in
your presence to accompany and console you, not to
seek consolation or a nice feeling for myself. Even
if I get distracted during our time together, I offer
myself to you completely.
Petition: Lord, give me
wisdom to understand what is truly important in this
1. The Scorecard of Life: Driving down the road,
a bumper sticker is often seen: “The one who dies
with the most toys wins.” This is a contemporary
rendition of the mantra of Jesus’ rich fool: “Eat,
drink and be merry.” Juggling credit cards and all kinds
of financing schemes, many people live life like the
rich fool in today’s Gospel. Is the drive for
material pleasure, or security, impoverishing my soul?
2. A Bigger
Barn vs. a Bigger Heart: What will truly make us
happy? Glossy magazine ads are, for some, a source
of inspiration on this point. Basically, they are about “bigger
barns”: a hotter car, redder lipstick, spectacular vacations. The
rich fool believes that by increasing his capacity for
material pleasure, he will be happier. But it’s an
illusion. Like the running wheel for a gerbil, it is
lots of movement without getting anywhere. We invest energy
and effort acquiring things, but the bigger barn brings
us little joy. That’s because our hearts -- not our
barns -- are what really need to be enlarged.
Our heart longs for love. That Augustinian restlessness will
never leave us in peace until we have encountered the
Lord who loves us and discovered him in the
relationships ordained by his providence.
3. When the Final Curtain
Is Drawn: At the end of this parable, Jesus in
essence says, “You can’t take it with you.” There’s
a place in Rome in which this is graphically depicted.
The Capuchin church of St Mary of the Immaculate
Conception, on Via Veneto, is affectionately known as the
“Bone Church.” Inside there is an amazingly designed and
arranged display made completely out of the bones of four
thousand Capuchin friars! While it may strike at modern
sensitivities as somewhat morbid, like today’s Gospel it teaches
an important lesson. All those bones look alike. Unless
you are a forensic expert, you cannot tell who was
fat or thin, smart or dull, handsome or homely.
Death is the great leveler. Earthly advantages dissolve. Material
goods stay in this world. We go to the Lord
to render an account of our lives at death.
As the little sign on the wall of the Capuchin
ossarium says, “One day, we were like you. One
day, you will be like us.”
Conversation with Christ:
Lord Jesus, so often I find my eyes
looking on the good things of this world more as
ends than means. I need to keep my priorities
straight always: you first and then everything else, inasmuch
as they lead me to you. Give me the wisdom
to realize that life is short and it must
be lived for you alone.
Resolution: I will
live charity today as fervently as if I knew
this day were my last.