The Prelate’s Sermon, November 28, 2021
Today on the second Sunday of Advent, the Gospel reading is from Saint Luke 12:13-31. It is a passage with rich instructions, of which I would like to share the parable that leads us to learn the secret of true wealth. Upon having an abundant harvest, a rich man plans to enlarge his barns and decides to use his wealth for his own pleasure for the rest of his lifetime. However, a heavenly voice condemns his imprudence: “You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then, who will get what you have prepared for yourself?” Jesus concludes, “This is how it will be with whoever stores up things for themselves, but is not rich toward God.”
I would like to share the following points, which are valid and pragmatic instructions for believers of all generations.
- The enthusiastic plan of the rich man upon an unexpected abundant harvest, humanly speaking, is quite normal, for prosperity is regarded as a blessing by the Almighty Lord. Success is followed by fortune and expansion, and is regarded as good management, which always is hailed by society. As such, the spontaneous initiation of the rich man to expand his barns is quite understandable and common for all those who are fortunate enough to enjoy the good results of their labor.
- Prosperity, on individual and collective levels, generates the comforts of life, and is often the objective of life in earthly society. We must recall that God crowned His Creation by making and endowing the human being who was destined to live in prosperity and comfort in Eden. Unfortunately, by ignoring the prime commandment of the Creator and instead following the DeDeceiver’sceptor’s advice, the human being “when he was in honor, did not understand. He has been compared to the senseless beasts and he has become like them” (Ps 48:21). Unfortunately, due to the Fall, mankind lost the privileges vested in him and “inherited a painful toil to eat from it” (Gen 3:14).
- The Creator fully wants us to enjoy the bounties of His Creation, but what was not pleasant to God was the selfish approach of the rich man. Surely, he was going to share the harvest with his relatives and friends, yet his thought process in saying to himself, “you have plenty of grain laid up for many years. Take life easy, eat, drink and be merry,” clearly signals that the poor were out of his immediate scope. As earthlings who unconditionally enjoy all the goods of Creation, we are invited to be thankful to the Creator by imitating Him “who makes His sun to rise on the evil and on the good” (Mt 5:45). What pleases God the most is charity. Being charitable and kind makes us the authentic children of God. The wise Solomon tells us: “A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving kindness more favorable than silver and gold. The rich and poor meet together; the Lord is the Maker of them all” (Prov 22:1-2).
- Our Lord with His conclusion opens a new dimension in understanding wealth. He invites all of us to be truly rich, not according to a human understanding, but from God’s perspective. It is true, as the saying goes, that “the shroud has no pockets.” Ever since Creation, no one has carried anything beyond the tomb. Jesus shares with us the way to make unperishable and eternal investment in heavens “where thieves cannot break in and where rust cannot corrode” (Lk 12:33). Whatever we share with those from whom we do not expect any return, amazingly we make God the debtor who gladly will return to us tenfold, thirtyfold, and one hundredfold, not only once, but twice eternally.
With this positive good news, let us be thankful to the beneficent Lord, who unceasingly provides for us, regardless of our status, bestows upon us every means to become rich eternally, and to enjoy infinite blessings which “no eyes has seen, no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived” (1 Cor 2:9), and to praise the All-Holy Trinity. Amen.