In today’s Gospel reading, we read about the rich man and the bountiful harvest. The parable stems from a request, by a follower, asking Jesus to tell his brother to share an inheritance with him. Jesus retorts, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” (Luke 12:14). Jesus asks this question because He does not want to get in the middle of the squabble between the follower and his brother. Yet, Jesus never misses an opportunity to take such squabbles and turn them into a teaching moment. Ultimately, we all know that one day we will stand before Jesus, our Judge. In this life, we constantly ask Jesus to intervene in our affairs and arbitrate on our behalf. Therefore, we could all easily see Jesus as our judge and arbitrator. But, on this occasion, Jesus teaches us a different lesson.
Judge and Arbitrator, or Savior and Redeemer?
Life, a gift from God, is not an accumulation of possessions, but rather an accumulation of what matters to God. What we try to cling to in this world, will be of no use to us in the next. Rather than focusing on the here and now, Jesus wants us focused on eternal life. How do we strive for eternal life? We do it through acceptance of Jesus Christ as our Savior and Redeemer; through prayer, fasting, and almsgiving, and through participation in the sacraments and the spreading of the Good News. None of us know how much time we have in this world, but we all want eternal life. So, we need to get moving on “what matters to God” (Luke 12:21).
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