My mom called the other day—
she called right in the middle of the work day—
so, I figured it was something really important.
I answered, “Mom, are you OK?”
And in a very stern and serious voice,
she said, “Stephen.”
I thought, “Oh, no”—
I know what it means when
she calls me Stephen.
“Stephen, your daddy and I are
in a horrible argument.”
I think again, “Oh, no!!!”
“Well mom, try not to argue.”
Probably not the best thing to say.
“Stephen, this is serious,
and you’ve got to settle it.”
I think again, “Oh no,
this is going to be a disaster!!!
“Well, mom, what is it—
what’s the argument about?”
“Stephen, what day is it today?”
I said, “Mom, you mean to tell me that
you and dad are having a huge fight
over what day it is today.”
“Yes,” she said,
“Well, what day is it?”
I said, “Today is Tuesday, July 30th.”
And when I said that it was Tuesday, July 30th,
there was silence—
and I mean dead silence.
I knew exactly what her
stunned silence meant!!!
And finally, she spoke—
in a much more subdued voice:
“Well, I’ll call him—
and tell him he was right.”
Aren’t we interesting creatures.
How wrong we can be sometimes!!!
In today’s Gospel Jesus
tells the parable of the rich fool.
It’s about a very successful farmer.
His harvest is huge!!!
So, he tears down all his barns
and builds bigger ones so he can store it all.
Then he can rest—eat—and be merry.
There are some things that we can
really admire about this successful
He is no doubt a talented man—
he knows the best farming practices.
He’s managed his employees well.
And there’s no doubt that
he’s a hard worker.
And that his skills and hard work has paid off.
And who shouldn’t prepare for the future?
So many admirable qualities—
There’s some wisdom there—
all qualities we can emulate.
But these things aren’t what Jesus
has problems with.
What Jesus has issues with—
and why the parable is call the
parable of the “rich fool”
is that this successful
farmer does understand two very
The concept of “enough”. . . .
and the concept of “time.”
First, the concept of “enough.”
In a land of plenty—
“Enough” can be a hard concept.
Why is it so important to
understand the notion of “enough”?!?!?! . . .
Because having “too
much” can lead to trouble.
The biggest trouble—
and this is all over the Gospels—
is that having “too much”
gives us the false illusion that
we are self-sufficient.
Not knowing when “enough is enough”
makes it easy to tell ourselves the
lie that we are not radically
dependent on God.
And when we have this illusion—
when we tell ourselves this lie—
then things will inevitably go sideways.
And one day,
we’ll wake up after some calamity—
or after having been enlightened with
the wisdom of the ages—
or after having the truth revealed to
us as we stand in front of the God
who has given us everything—
and realize that we have wandered
far—far—from the Kingdom of God—
far from the Gospel—
far from Jesus.
Living an illusion—
Living a lie—
Just won’t end well.
That’s why Jesus calls the
man a fool in the parable.
Here’s another problem—
Another big problem—
with not getting down the concept of “enough”. . .
It’s that so many people
around us just don’t have “enough.”
And that’s not right!!!
I went on mission weekend for
the Diocese a couple weekends ago.
And the church I was assigned to was in
a very poor area of Indianapolis.
I got to the place early and I
needed to work on my homily—
so I looked for a place I could work.
I was a little surprised to find a coffee
shop in this very poor neighborhood.
And what struck me the most about this coffee shop—
was what was posted on the bulletin board.
And the things posted were not like
some of the things I’ve seen posted on
the more upscale coffee shops that I’ve visited.
There was a flyer for a social justice
There was a flyer for those who had
experienced domestic violence.
There was a flyer for prison reform.
Haven’t seen that one in a Starbucks.
The community had a weekly pot lock
where everyone shared what little they had—
The headline of this flyer was
“Food plus love equal community.”
And there was one personal note:
“It’s OK to feel loved—
To feel whole—
To feel enough to feel alive.”
That person has had an interesting life—
with a totally different set of concerns than I’ve had.
Some people don’t have enough resources—
And some people don’t get enough lovin’.
And that’s not right!!!
If we shared—
If we gave more away—
If we all loved a little more.
And that’s not just the wisdom from Christianity.
That’s wisdom from all the religious traditions.
That’s wisdom from even the most admired
atheists or agnostics.
The other day I read a quote
from St. Basil the Great. . . .
St. Basil said that every pair of shoes
we have rotting in our closet—
is a pair of shoes that
the poor could have.
So, I went in my closet—
and counted how many pairs of shoes
I have for the first time in my life.
I had 7—
7 pairs of shoes. . . .
Most of which I hadn’t worn in several years. . . .
Some I had never worn.
How many pairs of shoes are “enough?”
“Enough” that can be a hard
concept in a land of plenty.
The other thing the successful farmer was
foolish about was the concept of “time.”
“You fool,” Jesus tells him,
“This night your life will be demanded of you
and the things you have prepared—
Who will they belong?”
I loved the idea of that app where someone
would submit their picture and
the app sent back a picture of what
we would look like decades from now.
I didn’t do it because of security concerns—
But it’s an eye opening concept.
Our time on earth is so finite!!!
And don’t we all want to make a
difference in whatever time we have left.
So, “Stephen, what day is it today.”
Like my mom asked.
Hopefully I can answer, whether it’s Tuesday, July 30th—
Or (Saturday, August 3rd / Sunday, August 4th)
I can say today is a day
that I can make some difference in someone’s life.
Every day is a day to share—
Every day is day to love.
Can we pray.
Oh God, who have given us everything—
Oh God, who will never lie to us.
We thank you.
We thank you for all your many gifts and opportunities.
Help us to understand the concept of “enough.”
Help us understand the truth about “time.”
So that when our days are done—
you can say to us:
“Well done my good and faithful servant.”
“You have fought the good fight.”
“You have finished the race.”
“You have made a difference!!!”
Holy Spirit 08/3-4/2019
St. Joseph 08/4/2019