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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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As Luke continues to narrate Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem, teaching his disciples in the presence of a great crowd (12:1-12,22,34), he was interrupted by a request from an individual in the crowd who asks Jesus to intervene in a dispute between him and his brother over inheritance (vv 13-15). This in turn provides a setting for the parable of the rich fool and its lesson regarding proper attitude to worldly treasures (vv16-34).

In the NT the word θησαυρὁς (thēsauros), ordinarily translated as ‘treasure’ in the sense of valuables (Mt 2:11;6:19;13:44; Heb 11:26) is also understood metaphorically as treasure of the heart (Mt 12:35; Lk 6:45; 12:34), or heavenly treasure (Mt 6:20; Mk 10:21; Lk 18:22; 2 Cor 4:7). Its verbal form means “laying up or storing up” either earthly or heavenly treasures (Mt 6:19-29; Lk 12:21; Jas 5:3).

Luke’s largely self-explanatory parable of the wealthy farmer points to the foolishness of investing energy single-mindedly in the passing things of this life. But first Jesus directs his response to the petitioner’s greed, a matter of great importance (v15). It is not with possessions as such that he argues but rather with the danger they represent. The desire for further accumulation suffocates the spirit. Moreover, the goods of this world are not related to the disciple’s true identity. They are therefore encouraged to avoid such greed and acquire true riches, those things that matter to God (vv21, 24). Totally at odds with this man’s conduct is that of a person truly dependent on the Lord (vv22-34).

When we acquire passing treasures in this life at the expense of losing eternal treasures in the life to come our life would be in vain. “…Vanity of vanities; all things are vanities” (Ecc 1:2). Therefore “seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth” (Col 3:1-2). Keeping in mind our finiteness and not knowing the ‘hour’, we pray with the Psalmist: “Teach us to count our days aright, that we might gain wisdom of heart” (90:12-13).

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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