Don’t Be A Rich Fool

BY TOM ULRICH | August 1, 2022
Sunday’s Readings

Today’s reading put me in a moral tizzy… My wife and I retired almost three years ago. When reflecting on today’s Gospel, I immediately began an Ignatian Examen on how we prepared for our new adventure. Given Jesus’ parable, the key focus question became: were we the “rich fool?” After several painfully honest conversations with God, I was relieved to conclude that our motivations were not those of the rich fool. 

We did not greedily hoard resources. We were not blind to the needs of others. We did not fail to draw clear boundaries between our needs and our desires. We did not forget that we are part of a wider, loving community who looks after each other today and will do so in the future. In retirement, we believe we’ve accumulated adequate resources for a lifestyle with a dignity to which everyone has a right… and not more than that. I believe we’ve likely passed the test Jesus gave his inquisitor.  

Don’t Be A Rich Fool

That test was the easier one. It mostly required passive action…not doing obviously morally wrong deeds. The second, more difficult part of the trial comes at the end of the Gospel passage. Jesus says, “Thus it will be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” The real question, therefore, is, “What exactly matters to God?” Luke answered that question earlier by proclaiming God’s greatest commandment. Loving our wondrous God with every fiber of our being by loving our neighbor is that answer.

Love is proactive, not passive. Loving our neighbor requires us to be co-creators with God. It means completely embracing the truth that we are one human family; that when one suffers everyone suffers; that social structures guided by racism, sexism, and all the other -isms are sinful and must be made right with justice; that feeling uncomfortable by learning about historic failures like institutional racism and benefitting from those social sins is a critical part of reconciling social sins; that creation is a gift meant to be nurtured, respected, and not exploited.  

In short, building God’s vision for us, guided by the Greatest Commandment, is what matters most to God. 

3 replies
  1. Dr Eileen Quinn Knight
    Dr Eileen Quinn Knight says:

    Like Tom and his wife, I feel I’ve led a life well spent. There is a certain calmness and peace surrounding it. That does not mean the challenge of this new step isn’t there. I need to seek out that authentic love that God constantly and consistently calls us to. Does my neighbor need me to speak up for them? Does my neighbor need me to listen to them when they deal with an addiction? Does my neighbor need me to drive him to a place where there is meaningful work for him to do? Does my neighbor want to pray for his life with me? The challenges of this new step are ever present and in need of my attention May I and others be drawn to the gift of our life to give to others. We are truly in the presence of God and when we are desiring to serve our neighbor we are truly in His presence and the presence of our neighbor. All for the glory of the Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

  2. Dr.Cajetan Coelho
    Dr.Cajetan Coelho says:

    Creation is a gift meant to be nurtured, respected, and not exploited – Well said, Tom.


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