Most of our Gospel stories concerned people living on the land, so that even today people living from harvest to harvest are more at home than we are with Gospel stories. We are at home with TV schedules, Wal-Mart sales, and political ads. We need to shake off our modern preoccupations to get the point of Our Lord’s parables.
His parable today deals with harvest time, the time of the year when folks can say goodbye to fourteen-hour work days, when they can drink a little and sing a lot, especially at their weddings. Shakespeare caught the spirit of it in the line, “The only pretty ring time, when birds do sing, hey ding a ding ding.”
But the rich man in today’s parable lacked the storage space he needed for his great harvest, so he put off enjoying the harvest while he got busy building more barns. He told himself that after he had finished all his work he would be able to say, “You have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink and be merry.”
What did God say to that? He said, “You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you!”
Why did God call the man a fool? He had to serve his wealth, rather than making his wealth serve him. He was a fool for letting his wealth prevent him from sharing in the happiness that even the poorest were rolling in.