Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Gospel text for Sunday 4 August 2013

Luke 12.13-21     Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, "Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me." But he said to him, "Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?" And he said to them, "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions." Then he told them a parable: "The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, `What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?' Then he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, `Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.' But God said to him, `You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God."
Reflection    Realizing that there are far too many people with urgent needs for food, shelter and safety, I don’t believe they are the people to whom Jesus directed this parable. But perhaps not for the obvious reason. People with great need tend to recognize their relationship and dependence on something more than their self, on God, and as we read in Luke’s version of the Beatitudes, “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of God.” (6.20) 
Back to this text. Can you see the indignant man from the crowd scowling, clenching his teeth and grunting sighs, “It’s not fair? “Clearly his priority was executing justice for personal gain. Unfortunately he lost sight of God’s priority - relationship; relationship with his brother and relationship with God.
Desiring and acquiring goods, riches and power is not of itself problemmatic. God created all things and called all things good, very good. But when desire for and acquisition of goods, riches and power override God’s priority for relationship, it is not good, not very good. It is greed. So Jesus tells the parable of the greedy farmer in which God minces no words. God speaks directly to the man and says, “You fool!” What good are all your riches when you have not been rich toward me... God? 
By clinging to our God given riches rather than to God we lose everything because the very act of clinging exposes the seperation of our self from God. Cinging is failure to recognize self in God and God in self. Clinging is blind to the One Being, the real human, complete and lacking nothing. When the greedy farmer built larger barns to store his excess grain and goods rather than praise and thank God Present for the glorious abundance, the man decisively ended his own life. By depending on his wit and wherewithall rather than on God he set himself apart from God. In other words, the greedy farmer’s will was not aligned with God’s will (remember last week's prayer..."Thy kingdom come.... thy will be done?). It is God's will to be known and expressed in all things. The greedy farmer’s priority was to “relax, eat, drink and be merry.” God’s priority was and always is - relationship. And it is good, very good.