The protagonist of the little parable about the “rich fool” is a landowner like those Jesus knew in Galilee. They were powerful men who ruthlessly exploited rural workers, thinking only of improving their own well-being. The people feared and envied them. They were undoubtedly the fortunate ones. For Jesus, they are the most foolish.
Surprised by a harvest that went far beyond his expectations, the rich landowner finds himself having to reflect: What shall I do? He talks to himself. No one else appears in his horizon. He does not seem to have a wife, children, friends or neighbors. He does not think of those rural folks who work his fields. He is only concerned about his well-being and wealth—my harvest, my barns, my goods, my life…
The rich man does not realize that he lives locked up inside himself, prisoner of a logic that dehumanizes him, emptying him of all dignity. He only lives to accumulate, store and add to his material well-being: 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!”
Suddenly, unexpectedly, Jesus makes God himself intervene. His cry interrupts the rich man’s dreams and illusions: You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong? This is God’s sentence: this rich man’s life is a failure and without sense.
He builds bigger barns, but does not know how to broaden the horizon of his life. He adds to his wealth, but he diminishes and impoverishes his life. He accumulates goods, but he does not know friendship, generous love, joy or solidarity. He does not know how to give or to share, only to hoard. What is there that is human in such a life?
The economic crisis we are suffering is a “crisis of ambition”: the rich countries, the huge banks, the powerful of the land…, we have wanted to live beyond our means, dreaming of accumulating wealth without any limit, and forgetting more and more those who sink into poverty and hunger. But suddenly our security breaks down.
This crisis is not just another crisis. It is a “sign of the times” that we need to read in the light of the Gospel. It is not difficult to listen to God’s voice in the depths of our consciences: “Enough of so much foolishness and so much cruel lack of solidarity.” We will never overcome our economic crises without fighting for a profound change in our lifestyle. We have to live more austerely. We should share more our abundance.
José Antonio Pagola
July 31, de 2016
18 Sunday O.T. (C)
Luke 12, 13-31