God called the rich man a fool. So, in what way was he a fool?
He was a fool because he let his wealth take the happiness from his life.
My appreciation of that harvest story comes from a half century ago when I served for twelve years in a Korean farming town. All life there centered on April’s harvest.
To put something on the table through the bitter winter, folks who had been forced to sell their grain from the year before; then, they had to buy some of it back for three times what they got from selling it. With debts piling up, they tightened their belts, watching their children go gaunt.
But when a good harvest came, it was like in Our Lord’s story. The people’s joy was something to see. Everyone was eating their full and more, and everyone was dancing at weddings. Well, almost everyone was dancing, and almost everyone had joy.
In Our Lord’s story the rich man, however, had to immediately turn to building new barns to house his abundance. He was counting on that abundance making him happy at a future date; but that future date never came for the rich fool.
Years after my Korean experience I was at a parish at Fernandina Beach, and I had a golfing buddy who was better off than most people. He had a home in upstate New York, a condo in Manhattan, and he rented out properties he owned on Amelia Island. I call him my golfing buddy, but his properties seldom left him free for golf. Everyday there was a lawn needing attention at one property, a furnace going bad at another. Then too, there were court cases with tenants who were not paying their rent. He didn’t own those properties. They owned him.