Fr. Lawrence Jagdfeld, O.F.M., Administrator
The Gospels, indeed most of the Scriptures, are narratives; as such they must be interpreted with the aid of narrative conventions and conceits. One such conceit is displayed in the parable which is told in the context of today's Gospel passage.
We are all familiar with the land owner who is surprised by his abundant harvest. His barns are not big enough to store the harvest. Instead of distributing the over abundance to those in need, he decided to tear down his barns and to build larger barns so that he will be able to keep the harvest for himself. This parable demonstrates that in the Scriptures, the words "wealthy" and "rich" usually can be replaced by the word "greedy." Therein lies the problem. While it is no sin to be wealthy, greed is one of the seven capital sins.
Another convention is displayed in the fact that this man speaks to himself. In this particular culture secrecy of any kind is looked upon as hiding something evil. Speaking to oneself rather than openly for all to hear is a display of secrecy. The landowner is branded by his own desire for secrecy.
God has blessed each of us with gifts beyond compare, in particular, the blessing of forgiveness of our sins. All gifts are given freely and without reservation. However, the Gospels demonstrate that the best form of gratitude for those gifts is to share them with others.
P.S. At yesterday's canonization ceremonies in Rome, the Holy Father granted the petition of the American bishops to include Blessed John Paul II on our American liturgical calendar. The permission was granted one day in advance of his memorial, October 22.