Lately, we had a guest speaker who talked about the Voice to Parliament and the Uluṟu Statement from the Heart. While the speaker continued to discuss the pros and cons of the issue, one of the attendees’ raised questions that didn’t seem to have any connection with what the speaker was saying. It was quite distracting, to be honest. Thankfully, another attendee stepped in and pointed out that the questions weren’t relevant to the main topic.
It is true also to this pericope, Jesus is busy teaching the crowd on what to do when opposition comes and how to rely on the Holy Spirit, when one from the crowd raised a request that appeared to be out of context and irrelevant.
If such a situation happened to any of us, it’s likely that our reaction would be similar to that of Jesus. But Jesus doesn’t stop there, he used this stranger’s request to teach us furthermore. Jesus knows what was going on, thus clarifies us about greed coated with preparedness, by means of the parable of this rich man who seemed to be a wise and responsible as he wants to save his harvest for the future.
During my university years, I found myself at a crossroads: I was torn between the idea of entering religious life or carrying on as a regular lay person. Seeking guidance, I spoke with a spiritual director who advised me to finish my degree before making any final decisions, which I certainly did. If religious life is not for me, I could go freely back to the world outside without any worry that I might be a burden to my family. Isn’t that a wise approach to plan for the future? How many of us have put in so much effort and hard work to ensure that we are ready for whatever the future may bring? One day, the chaplain and I were asked to attend an orientation at one of the Nursing Homes in our Parish. the discussion focused on planning for old age and considering healthcare preferences. It’s important to take control of these decisions instead of waiting for someone else to make them for you when you’re no longer capable of making them yourself.
As I reflect on the parable, it becomes clear that the man’s wealth was not what made him a fool. His desire to prepare for the future is admirable, but his downfall was his isolation from others and from God. He only focused on himself and never reached out to others or considered the importance of a spiritual connection. It precisely answers that man who asked Jesus to be an arbiter between him and his brother over an inheritance, that extreme ownership of material possessions can often lead to unnecessary conflict and tension.
As we grow older, this gospel is a good reminder that no amount of wealth or property can truly secure our lives. It’s not that we shouldn’t save for retirement or future needs, but rather that our priorities should be focused on more important things. It’s true that we may not be able to please everyone, but it’s important to remember that we need each other, and we need God in our lives.
Let me end this reflection by bringing you a ballad song whose lyrics tells: “All of my life it seemed that something had been missing, I didn’t know what to do. Days would pass me by, each as lonely as the other until I met you; I’m living in a brighter world now that I have you.”
Sr Rosana Estoque CP is a Passionist Religious, and the Pastoral Associate at St.Brtigid’s Chruch, Marrickville.