Armodoxy for Today
Staying on Track
Our Advent Journey continues and our first stop is confronting the parable of the ‘Rich Fool,’ as told by Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Luke, chapter 12.
“The ground of a certain rich man yielded plentifully. And he thought within himself, saying, ‘What shall I do, since I have no room to store my crops?’ So he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods. And I will say to my soul, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry. But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul will be required of you; then who’s will those things be which you have provided?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself and is not rich toward God.” – Jesus (Luke 12)
Remember, Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas, to understand the holiness of the holy day. Right off, Jesus tells us the preparation is about laying treasures and uses this parable to illustrate the importance of not losing sight of the prize. We are on a journey to Christmas when we proclaim that Christ is born and revealed among us. Along the way, it will be easy to be sidetracked. The rich man of the parable begins as an entrepreneur who uses his wisdom and knowledge to bring him profit. When his work yields a bumper crop, he loses sight of the purpose of his labor and falls into the trap of losing sight of the destination. Further, Jesus gives him the designation of a “fool” because he had labored and not set aside treasures beyond himself.
St. Paul refers to the love of money as the root of all evil. Money itself is merely a tool. It has value when it is used, otherwise it is merely a figure of lines, circles, dots and dollar signs on a ledger somewhere. When money is used, an in particular to the aid and benefit of others – your children, your parents, your loved ones, your community, your church, and yes, to those who you don’t know – it picks up value because now, it can be measured by the terms that are understood by others beside yourself.
It always amazes me when I hear someone boast of himself or of his child, proudly proclaiming that they “know the value of a dollar.” In fact, a drug dealer knows the value of a dollar. So what? The parable is about finding true value for money which translates to the value of life.
We pray the prayer of St. Nersess the Gracefilled, from the 23 hour: All-merciful Lord, have mercy upon all Your faithful, on those who are mine and on those who are strangers; on those whom I know and on those whom I know not; on the living and on the dead; and forgive all my enemies, and those who hate me, the trespasses that they have committed against me; turn them from the malice which they bear towards me, that they may be worthy of Your mercy. Amen.
We continue tomorrow, on the Advent Journey. I look forward to being together to take the next steps.