9:17 AM (8 hours ago)
Luke 12: 13-21
Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
Jesus replied, “Man, who appointed me a judge or an arbiter between you?” Then he said to them, “Watch out! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told them this parable:
“The ground of a certain rich man produced a good crop. He thought to himself, ‘What shall I do? I have no place to store my crops.’ “Then he said, ‘This is what I’ll do. I will tear down my barns and build bigger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I’ll say to myself, “You have plenty of good things laid up for many years. Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry.” ’ “But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?’ “This is how it will be with anyone who stores up things for himself but is not rich toward God.”
José Antonio Pagola
We know increasingly more of the social and economic situation Jesus encountered in the Galilee of the 30s. While wealth kept growing in the cities of Sephoris and Tiberias, hunger and misery kept increasing in the villages. The peasants remained landless and landowners built larger barns and silos.
In a short story preserved by Luke, Jesus reveals what he thought of that situation so contrary to the project willed by God, of a more humane world for all. He tells this parable not to denounce the abuses and outrages the landlords committed, but to expose the folly of those living in comfortable security.
A wealthy landowner finds himself surprised by an unexpected large harvest. He does not know what to do with such abundance. “What shall I do?” His monologue exposes the insane logic of the powerful who only live to hoard wealth and secure wellbeing while excluding the needy from their horizon.
The rich man of the parable plans his life and takes his decisions. He will pull down the old barns and build other larger ones. There he will store up all his harvest. He can accumulate goods for many years. Now on he will live only to enjoy himself: “relax, eat, drink and have a good time.” Unexpectedly, God interrupts his plans: “You fool, this very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?”
This man reduced his existence to enjoying the abundance of his possessions. All that exists at the centre of his life is he alone and his well-being. God is not there. The workers who till the land don’t exist. The families of the villages struggling against hunger don’t count. God’s judgment is unambiguous: it’s stupid and foolish to live this kind of a life.
Today, practically all over the world inequality is increasing alarmingly. It’s a stark, inhuman reality: “The rich, specially the very rich, are becoming much richer, while the poor, specially the poorest, are becoming much poorer “ (Zygmunt Bauman).
It is not something normal. Quite simply, it is the ultimate consequence of the most serious foolishness human beings are committing: replacing friendly cooperation, solidarity, and a search for the common good of humanity by competition, rivalry and a monopoly of goods in the hands of the most powerful people on the earth.
On the part of the Church of Jesus present all over the world, the cry of his followers against such foolishness needs to be heard as well as the reaction felt against the model that today guides human history.