|In today’s gospel reading the Lord introduces the parable of the rich farmer with a remark that is particularly appropriate for our society: …though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions. In our society having is equated with being and having more is interpreted as being more. The reverse side of this coin is that having less is interpreted as being less and the glaring inequality in having is echoed in the glaring inequality in respect offered to those who have less.
The parable itself offers two points worthy of consideration. The first point is the rich man’s self-centeredness. The wealth resulting from his abundant harvest will be enjoyed by him alone. An abundant harvest would most likely require a larger work force, but the idea of sharing with the laborers the benefits of the bumper crop never crossed the rich man’s mind. We may not be rich farmers ourselves, but we have all been blessed with a variety of gifts, an abundant crop. We need to be willing to share with others the benefits of that crop.
The other point in the parable is the abundance itself. The Lord refers to us as God’s field. The Church is God’s field and it has been yielding harvests in the course of the years. At the present moment we are blessed with a well prepared laity that is already contributing significantly to the Church’s harvest. This abundance is itself a rich crop that in terms of preparedness was not equally available to the Church in the not too distant past. But, even as it is a great gift, such abundance is not given for the enjoyment of the Church alone. It needs to have a repercussion beyond the Church’s boundaries and, thank God, it is already having such repercussion.