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Eighteenth Week in Ordinary Time

Lk. 12:13-21

No one wants to be thought of or called a fool. As far as I know today's Gospel is the only time in the Bible that God calls a specific man a fool, although there are many instances of people acting foolishly. What kind of man was he? He was obviously a hard worker, a careful planner and a good businessman. These are traits that we all admire. But the truth is that God called him a fool for what he failed to do – the things he left out of his life. This man has something to say to you and me.

His story tells us that it is a foolish thing to leave God out of our lives. He was surveying his achievements and planning his future. It never occurred to him that his abundance might have been a blessing from God or that his future was dependent upon Him. When the nation of Israel was about to enter the land of milk and honey, Moses said, “You shall remember the Lord your God for it is He who gives you power to get wealth.” This rich fool apparently forgot that. He thought that all of his success was due to his own hard work and genius.

It is also good to plan for the future, but it is wise to remember that all of our plans depend upon God. St James talks about this in his Epistle on practical Christianity: “Some of you are planning to go to a certain city, stay there for one year, buy and sell, and earn a profit.
You don’t even know what tomorrow holds. You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that.’” It is always wise to remember that our lives are in the hands of God and sheer foolishness to leave Him out of our plans. Life at best is so fragile and insecure; we are so dependent upon God.

It is foolish to live life and to ignore our spiritual needs. The rich fool failed to realise that there was a very real part of his nature that needed something more than food and pleasure. What makes human life so important is that we are made in the image of God, capable of having a relationship with Him. We were created to know, love and serve God in this world and to be happy with Him in the next. Yes, we are physical creatures with physical needs - food, clothing, houses, cars and all the rest. What is more important is that that we are spiritual creatures with spiritual needs - a craving to serve and communicate with God Whose approval we need about the way we lead our lives. These needs are just as real as food, drink and shelter. Let us never turn our backs on this part of our nature. Only a fool ignores his spiritual needs.

It is a foolish thing, too, to forget eternity. The man in our reading only thought of the present. But one day it would all be gone. Sooner or later time runs out for all of us. This life is not forever - each of us is moving towards eternity. All of life should be lived in the light of that truth.

Holy Spirit, inspire us to be wise by including God in all our plans, remembering that we have souls with needs that must be met and living our lives against the backdrop of eternity.

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