Someone out of the crowd said, "Teacher, order my brother
to give me a fair share of the family inheritance."
He replied, "Mister, what makes you think it's any of my
business to be a judge or mediator for you?"
Speaking to the people, he went on, "Take care! Protect
yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined
by what you have, even when you have a lot."
Then he told them this story: "The farm of a certain rich
man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: 'What can
I do? My barn isn't big enough for this harvest.' Then he said,
'Here's what I'll do: I'll tear down my barns and build bugger
ones. Then I'll gather in all my grain and goods, and I'll say
to myself, "Self, you've done well! You've got it made and
can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!"'
"Just then God showed up and said, 'Fool! Tonight you die.
And your barnful of goods--who gets it?'
"That's what happens when you fill your barn with Self and
not with God."
<The Message >
An awareness of our "self-talk" is important to keep
us on an even keel. What story are we telling our self? With
the U.S. holding out on the current wisdom about global warming
and some tentative Kyoto protocols to deal with that, what must
the U.S. be telling itself about how well it is doing? about
how business comes before creation? about gathering in all the
resources and goods one can in the short-term?
If we listen in on our self-talk we will find out more about
ourselves than we want to know, but it may also be an opportunity
for finally catching on to our self-delusions and lead to repentance
or conversion and all that means.
We are foolish when we euphemize death. We talk around it with
talk about "passing on" and the like. It is this sort
of straight talk -- "Tonight you die" -- that I like
about many spiritual teaching stories. How do we pass on this
information without watering it down or giving folks an out?
One picture I have here is that Jesus is responding to one person's
lived reality, but it is deep within the hearts of most of us.
So, Jesus turns to the questioner's neighbor and repeats the
line, "Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods--who
gets it?" And repeats it again to the neighbor's neighbor.
This goes on until Jesus looks me in the face asks that nasty
question. It is a question for us to address on as daily a basis
as praying for bread.
We find ourselves living between full barns and daily bread.
Let us help one another live better in-between so no one has
too much and no one has too little.
I think it important that we not end this reading with verse
21 but go on to the beginning of the next verse. The Message
puts it this way at the beginning of verse 22: "[Jesus]
continued this subject with his disciples." We need to continue
this subject with our parishioners. Economic issues are spiritual
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