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18th Sunday Ordinary :: 2007

18th Sunday Ordinary :: 2007

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Published by: SaintJoseph on Jul 29, 2008
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Sunday in O.T. 08-05-07True Wealth in ChristScripture ReadingsFirst
Ecc 1:2, 2:21-23
Col 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12: 13-21Prepared by: Fr. Jonathan Kalisch, O.P.1.
Subject Matter
Jesus turns from the disciples need to trust God amidst persecution to the subtle danger thatpossessions can be against total trust in God. Many obstacles lie in the path of discipleship – including an attachment to excessive wealth. This distraction of greed that is self-directed,can lead to false-comfort, fleeting security, and vain efforts at control.
The pursuit of self-interest (detached from life in Christ), not only leads to anxiety and sorrowof heart, but can paralyze one’s ability to simply act (St. Basil).
An emphasis on “having” over “being” imprisons the disciple and diminishes the truepossession of life in Christ to the smallness of the thing possessed.2.
Exegetical Notes
Lk 12:13-14:
The man is only interested in his own problems and only views Jesus as anauthority who can assist in sorting out his case. The man does not ask Jesus to arbitrate, butsimply to decide against the other brother. Jesus does not honor such a partisan request.
Jews often brought such disputes to a rabbi, and so this passage shows respect for Jesusand his judgment. Yet this is the second time Jesus has refused to intercede for someonecomplaining about a family member (cf. LK 10:38-42)
LK 12:15
the term for greed is only used here and in Mark 7:22 in the Gospels. It indicates“the desire to have more”. Greed in the pursuit of possessions can lead to insensitivitytoward people, disagreement and disharmony. “To define life in terms of things is theultimate reversal of the creature serving the creation and ignoring the Creator. (Rom 1:18-
32) In Col 3:5 and Eph 5:5, greed is called idolatry because it tends to become a god thatdrives one to do things that are not good…Real life is rich toward God, not things.” (Bock)
LK 12:16
The “parable of the rich fool” is one of four passages that treat possessions (cf.12:22-34, 14:12-33, 16:1-13, and 16:19-31)
LK 12:17 ff
– The rich man has extensive holdings and been blessed by the Lord. Yet, thenumerous uses of the pronoun
goods) and first personsingular verbs suggests exclusive self-interest.
Having laid his plans, the man concludes that he can live in self-indulgent leisure, without anythought for the needs of others.
Sir 11:18-19 
states: “One becomes rich through diligenceand self-denial, and the reward allotted to him is this: when he says, ‘I have found rest, andnow I shall feast on my goods!’ he does not know how long it will be until he leaves them toothers and dies.”
Despite the man’s prudent and efficient planning to accumulate wealth, God judges him a‘fool’ and requires his soul. In the OT, a fool is one who either acts without God or withoutwisdom about potential destruction. (cf Job 31:24-28; Ps 14:1, 53:1; Ecc 2:1-11, Sir 11:18-19)
LK 12:21
The parable does not condemn planning or riches, per se. Rather the basiccontrast is between riches toward oneself and toward God. In LK 19:10, Zacchaeus is acounterexample of a penitent rich man. Errors occur when one stores riches for oneself;assumes that life can be secured and measured by possessions; and when one seesproperty simply as one’s own.
References to the Catechism of the Catholic Church
CCC # 2536
: “The tenth commandment forbids
and the desire to amass earthly goodswithout limit. It forbids
arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power. Italso forbids the desire to commit injustice by harming our neighbor in his temporal goods:When the Law says, ‘You shall not covet,’ these words mean that we should banish ourdesires for whatever does not belong to us. Our thirst for another's goods is immense,infinite, never quenched. Thus it is written: ‘He who loves money never has money enough.’”
CCC # 2544
: “Jesus enjoins his disciples to prefer him to everything and everyone, and bidsthem ‘renounce all that [they have]’ for his sake and that of the Gospel. Shortly before hispassion he gave them the example of the poor widow of Jerusalem who, out of her poverty,gave all that she had to live on. The precept of detachment from riches is obligatory forentrance into the Kingdom of heaven.”
CCC # 2545:
“All Christ's faithful are to ‘direct their affections rightly, lest they be hindered intheir pursuit of perfect charity by the use of worldly things and by an adherence to richeswhich is contrary to the spirit of evangelical poverty.’”
CCC # 2547
: “The Lord grieves over the rich, because they find their consolation in theabundance of goods. ‘Let the proud seek and love earthly kingdoms, but blessed are thepoor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.’ Abandonment to the providence of the
Father in heaven frees us from anxiety about tomorrow. Trust in God is a preparation for theblessedness of the poor. They shall see God.”
CCC # 2548
: “Desire for true happiness frees man from his immoderate attachment to thegoods of this world so that he can find his fulfillment in the vision and beatitude of God. ‘Thepromise [of seeing God] surpasses all beatitude. . . . In Scripture, to see is to possess. . . .Whoever sees God has obtained all the goods of which he can conceive.’”
CCC # 2445
: “Love for the poor is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfishuse: ‘Come now, you rich, weep and howl for the miseries that are coming upon you. Yourriches have rotted and your garments are moth-eaten. Your gold and silver have rusted, andtheir rust will be evidence against you and will eat your flesh like fire. You have laid uptreasure for the last days. Behold, the wages of the laborers who mowed your fields, whichyou kept back by fraud, cry out; and the cries of the harvesters have reached the ears of theLord of hosts. You have lived on the earth in luxury and in pleasure; you have fattened yourhearts in a day of slaughter. You have condemned, you have killed the righteous man; hedoes not resist you.’ (Jas 5:1-6)”
CCC # 2446
: “St. John Chrysostom vigorously recalls this: ‘Not to enable the poor to share inour goods is to steal from them and deprive them of life. The goods we possess are not ours,but theirs.’ ‘The demands of justice must be satisfied first of all; that which is already due in justice is not to be offered as a gift of charity’. When we attend to the needs of those in want,we give them what is theirs, not ours. More than performing works of mercy, we are paying adebt of justice.”
CCC # 2402
: “In the beginning God entrusted the earth and its resources to the commonstewardship of mankind to take care of them, master them by labor, and enjoy their fruits.The goods of creation are destined for the whole human race. However, the earth is dividedup among men to assure the security of their lives, endangered by poverty and threatened byviolence. The appropriation of property is legitimate for guaranteeing the freedom and dignityof persons and for helping each of them to meet his basic needs and the needs of those inhis charge. It should allow for a natural solidarity to develop between men.”
CCC # 2403
: “The
right to private property 
, acquired or received in a just way, does not doaway with the original gift of the earth to the whole of mankind. The
universal destination of goods 
remains primordial, even if the promotion of the common good requires respect for theright to private property and its exercise.”
CCC # 2404
: “‘In his use of things man should regard the external goods he legitimatelyowns not merely as exclusive to himself but common to others also, in the sense that theycan benefit others as well as himself.’ The ownership of any property makes its holder asteward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits toothers, first of all his family.”4.
Patristic Commentary and Other Authorities
St. Athanasius
: “A person who lives as if he were to die every day – given that our life isuncertain by definition – will not sin, for good fear extinguishes most of the disorder of our

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