Above a sunny St Peter’s Square, Pope Francis joined the faithful on Sunday for the traditional Angelus Prayer. In his remarks he reflected on the day’s Gospel reading from Luke and he invited those gathered to read this beautiful passage. It opens with the scene of a man who stands up in the crowd and asks Jesus to resolve a juridical question about the inheritance of a family.
The Pope explained that Jesus “does not address the question, and exhorts us to stay away from greed, that is, the greed to possess.”
Jesus and the rich man
Jesus recounts the parable of the rich fool, who believes he is happy because he has had the good fortune of an exceptional year and feels secure for the goods he has accumulated. Pope Francis pointed out that “the story comes to life when the contrast between what the rich man plans for himself and what God promises him emerges.”
The Pope described how the, “the rich person puts three considerations before his soul, that is, before himself: the many goods piled up, the many years that these goods seem to assure him, tranquility and unbridled well-being. But, said the Pontiff, “the word that God addresses to him erases these projects. Instead of the "many years", God indicates the immediacy of "this night"; instead of the "enjoyment of life" he presents Him with the "rendering of life", with the consequent judgment.”
Pope Francis went on to say that God addressed the man as foolish, which in this case is justified, because in practice he has denied God, and he has not come to terms with Him.
The parable, said the Pope, serves as a warning that reveals “the horizon towards which we are all called to look. Material goods are necessary for life, but they must not be the end of our existence, but a means of living honestly and in sharing with those most in need.”
Riches that can chain the heart
Pope Francis underlined that, “today Jesus invites us to consider that riches can chain the heart and distract it from the true treasure that is in heaven.”
He added, however, that “this does not mean being alienated from reality, but seeking the things that have a true value such as justice, solidarity, acceptance, fraternity and peace…” “The greed for goods, the desire to have goods, he remarked does not satisfy the heart, on the contrary it causes more hunger.”
The Pope concluded by saying that it “is a matter of inclining towards a life lived not in the worldly way, but in the evangelical way, meaning, to “love God with all our being, and to love our neighbour as Jesus loved him, that is, in service and in the gift of himself.”