Yesterday evening, reflecting on today’s Gospel, just one word kept on coming back to me: fool!
You see, it is fine if I say to myself: “how silly I am” after doing something. Another thing is when someone else looks at me and say: “you are being silly”. Then I might take it personal.
Though part of a parable, and probably not his style, I wonder how would it be if it would be Jesus telling me: you fool…
The parable is about a rich man who has even a great harvest and needs to decide what to do. I have always found it interesting that it is all about himself:
- it is interesting to see how many times he talks about: my barns, my grains, my goods, my soul as if really everything belongs to him;
- he talks to himself and no one else – there is no one he would discern with;
- he thinks just of himself and about no one else – there seemed to be no one else in his life or around him
The tragedy is that 2000 years’ later the way the man answers is shared by many who would reach the same conclusion: “take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time”.
It is seen in different ways:
- the way they think: “we must enjoy life because we live only once”,
- in pastors or our own priests when they are more concerned about the wool than the sheep,
- it is seen in those who look for a job to have a salary but not fulfill a vocation or to serve others,
- we live life as if there is no tomorrow
- in the way we deal with “our common home”, Laudato Si brings plenty of examples in this regard.
This “you fool” from Jesus points to the way we spend our lives, to our priorities, to our values but also to the way we trust the Gospel we preach.
We do have alternative examples, particularly in the life of saints who heard a word that challenged them, who opened themselves to those around them and made radical choices. Choices that gave them a sense of fulfilment and joy while others seem to always feel a sense of emptiness.
That is why I think we need not only yesterday’s saints but today’s witnesses and we, bishops, should be leading in this regard.
Maybe the opposite of being fool is having the “wisdom of heart” the psalm speaks about. “Make us know the shortness of our lives so that we may have wisdom of heart”.
May we, by the way we live, help others look for that wisdom!