God wants us to be industrious in providing for ourselves and for our families. But he does not want us to be obsessed with increasing our incomes. He does not want us storing away more than we need. He teaches those lessons in today’s readings.
In the first reading God told us to avoid vanity in our working life. By vanity he meant giving ourselves to pursuits to make a show of being successful. It is vanity to pile up profits you will have to leave to people who just enjoy the good things in life.
In the Gospel Jesus had his listeners recalling their seven weeks of dawn-to- dusk labor getting the harvest in. He had them recalling their times of embarrassment when they had to borrow from neighbors to get food on their tables. Then, he turned their thoughts to the plenty of a rich harvest when they could eat to near bursting, when they could dnce the nights away. At harvest time they could have weddings and wedding banquets.
The rich man, however, missed out on all of that. He hadn’t storage space for his great harvest. So, he resolved on postponing the joys of harvest while he worked hard at tearing down his small barns and in building big ones.
What did God say about that? He called the rich man a fool for letting excess wealth deprive him of the joys that moderate wealth brings.
Go over your accounts. If you have more than you need, you should spread it around to give happiness. You can’t take it with you.
(Father Mike Kelly, who was pastor of St. Paul’s Riverside in the seventies, used to say, “You can’t take it with you but you can send it on ahead.)