July 31, 2016 Click on the left end of the black bar to play/pause
July 31, 2016
Fr. George Smiga
God calls the rich man in today’s parable a fool, but why is he foolish? Certainly part of it is that he has no intent of sharing what he owns with those who are in need. But I think it goes much deeper. This man is foolish in regard to his future and foolish in regard to his success.
As to his future, he has big plans. He is going to build larger barns in which he will store all of his possessions. Then he is confident that he will be happy and secure for many years to come. What is foolish about this strategy is that this man’s future is but one day. Wise people understand that you never know what tomorrow may bring. Our health, our families, our jobs can change dramatically. We do of course have to keep an eye on the future, eating healthy, investing in our 401ks. But the only life we really have is the life we have today. That is why wise people refuse to postpone living it. It makes no sense to say that I will be happy once I graduate, once I find someone to love me, once I find a new job, once I retire. The future is largely out of our control. That is why wise people live today.
But the man in the gospel is foolish in another sense. He does not know the source of his success. He presumes that his bountiful harvest is merely the result of his own effort and ability, and he fails to give thanks to God for the good things that he has. You can see his self-centered attitude by the way he talks. He does not talk to God. He does not talk to other people. He talks to himself. He says, “This is what I will do.” And then he says to himself, “Eat, drink and be merry.” Centered on his own success, he is unable to give thanks. And that is a serious failure.
For in my life and ministry I have seen over and over again that the happiest people are the most thankful people. People who not only use their talents to do good for others, but people who understand that the talents they possess are gifts from a God who loves them. People who not only love their spouse, their children, and their friends but who understand that their relationships flow from the hand of God who blesses them. Thankfulness deepens life. It enriches life, because it places all that we have in the context of God’s love, a love that will not abandon us no matter what comes.
So let us live wisely, not in the future, but today. Let us celebrate today our health, our friends, and our abilities. Let us deepen that celebration by realizing that all these good gifts come from God’s love. The gospel calls us to live today with thankfulness. This is the secret of happiness. This is the way to live. To live any other way would be the choice of a fool.