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18 Sunday C - True Riches and Treasures



Script Reading
Gospel Text: Luke 12:13-21

Michel de Verteuil
General Textual comments
The passage is in several sections:
gold-mine– verses 13 and 14: a dialogue between Jesus and the man;
– verse 15: a teaching on avarice;.
– verses 16 to 21: a parable with its explanation.

 If you decide to meditate on the dialogue, you can identify with Jesus, the leader who refuses to play games with people,

or the man, whom we will recognise as ourselves when we pray (or relate with people) from self-interest.
The teaching on avarice is imaginative, as Jesus’ teachings always are. You might like to ask
yourself who has been Jesus in your life.
The parable has two moments, each of which can unveil reality to you. There is the moment
when the man decided to build bigger barns, and the one when God called him. This second
moment has two aspects: his souls was demanded of him, and he had to face the question, “This
hoard of yours, whose will it be?”
The brief interpretation in verse 21 seems simple at first reading, but personal meditation
can reveal how deep it really is.

Scripture Reflection
Lord, forgive us for the times when we make prayer
an occasion for getting you to tell our brothers
Jesus who 1to give us a share of our inheritance,
as if you were some kind of high court judge or arbitrator of our claims.
“The ultimate purpose of trade and industry is to serve our fellow human beings by creating goods and services to meet their needs.”  …George Carey, Archbishop of Canterbury
Lord, we pray that your Church may always be the voice of Jesus in our modern world,
challenging our contemporaries to watch and be on their guard
against avarice of any kind,
and reminding them that our lives are not made secure by what we own,
materialismeven when we have more than we need.
“Materialism has failed as an ideology in the East, but it has certainly triumphed as a matter of practice in the West.  … President Havel of Czechoslovakia
Lord, we thank you for those few world leaders who are the voice of Jesus in our day,
calling us to watch and be on our guard  against avarice of every kind.
The continued greed of the wealthy nations will certainly call down on them the wrath of the poor, with consequences no one can foretell.” … Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio
Lord, the wealthy nations of the world have had good harvests from their land,
they have pulled down their barns and built bigger ones,
storing their grain and their goods in them.
They think that they have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come
and so they can take things easy, drink and have a good time.
But the time will surely come when the poor nations of the world
will demand to be treated as members of the human family,
and that great hoard of goods, whose will it be then?
The  Cross is the power of truth. It exposes the ultimate futility of relationships based on fear, manipulation and violence.  …Bishop Raymond Hunthausen of Seattle
Lord, we remember a time when something terrible happened to us
– a death in the family;
– we were humiliated in front of our friends;
– we discovered how jealous we were.
Truly our souls were being demanded of us.
We realized then that we are not made secure by what we own,
that the treasures we store up for ourselves are really worthless.
We thank you that at that moment we felt poor and very vulnerable,
but also very rich because we knew that you looked on us with love.
“Hell is not to love any more.”   …Dorothy Day
Lord, the worst experience in the whole world
is to have a demand made for our souls
and then to realize that we have stored up treasures for ourselves
in place of making ourselves rich in your sight.
“By admitting death into our lives we enlarge and enrich them.”  …Etty Hillesum, Jewish woman who died in a concentration camp, 1943
Lord, remind us always of that dread moment when you will say to us:
This very night demand will be made of your soul.”
When our horizons are not limited by the big barns
in which we have stored our grain and all our goods,
we can become truly rich.
“We cannot allow the politicians to cloud our vision and promote their disruptive policies, as it would lead to our destruction.”   Lloyd Best, Trinidad economist
barn on fireLord, help us to stand up to leaders whose main interest is building big barns
in which to store all their grain and goods,
thinking they have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come,
when all the time they are destroying the tolerance
that has made us a wealthy nation in your sight.
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Thomas O’Loughlin
Introduction to the Celebration
My friends in Christ, our culture is one where sudden death rarely visits us and where we are encouraged to place our trust in material wealth as never before. But today and everyday we have the stark reminder that this world is passing. A moment will come when this life is no more. It is that moment that calibrates our value system of what is true wealth: a vast hoard of money, or riches in God’s sight. Let us reflect on our values, on where we place our trust, and ask for mercy.


Gospel Notes
only moneyThis passage, the parable of the Rich Fool, is found only in Luke’s gospel, but draws together some basic elements from the Wisdom tradition on the foolishness of placing final trust in the security of material possession. This wisdom tradition is more sophisticated than the proverbial ‘You can’t take it with you’ or There are no pockets in shrouds’ which could be simply be a variant on ‘Eat, drink, for tomorrow we will be dead’ (cf 1 Cc 15:32). Rather the purpose of the wisdom is that one moment one can have control over one’s environment or that it brings long-term security. In the face of the contingency of human life, and of matter, the wise person has to place their long-term trust in God.
Things
Homily Notes
1. Going to extremes is always easy; and preaching extremes has an elegant simplicity as every demagogue knows. Striking a balance and acting with wisdom and prudence is more diffi­cult and more tiring. Today we have to reflect on one of these tensions: between possessing in this life, and having’ treasure in the Sight of God’. The tension can be expressed in any num­ber of ways: between care of this life and care of the life to come; having concern for the creation and concern for eternity. It is the great ‘either / or’ of umpteen sermons.
2. But this gospel avoids making one extreme the position of Jesus. The one who has gone to the extreme is the man in the parable. He is a fool because he has concentrated on the earthly at the expense of the heavenly.
3. Let us think about the extremes for a moment. One extreme is to be so wholly focused on heaven that one is ‘no earthly use’. The other extreme is to be so enmeshed in material pursuits that one becomes just another material object. The first gives away everything, but human poverty might be just as great after this extreme gesture as before. The other is indif­ferent to human suffering and poverty, and the world is as badly off after that person as before.
4.The really difficult calling of the whole church and of each of us individually is to embrace the tension, and seek to wisely judge between extremes each day. This is not only the wis­dom of prudence, but it is more difficult because it calls on us to think about situations carefully, and it is tiring for we have to keep at the task day-in and day-out.
5. We have to find the balances between:
Love of Self / Love of Others
Appreciating the material creation/Knowing its limited existence
Bodily health/Penance
Service to neighbour / Prayer and Reflection
Enjoying God’s gifts/Fasting
Liturgy as ritual/Liturgy as working for justice
‘Both-and’ is more demanding than ‘either-or’
6. The ecological movement has a great slogan: ‘Think Global; Act Local.’ We as Christians can wholly endorse the idea: we have to keep the big picture in mind (the creation comes from God and is returning to him – that is our version of ‘Thinking global’); but while we are within the process of living in this world, we have to pay careful attention to the demands for our responsible action that are close to hand (action in the creation here and now is our’ Acting local’).
7. It would be useful if Christians could come up with a slogan to go alongside ‘Think Global; Act Local’; the best I can think of is: ‘Think of Heaven; Work on Earth’ – perhaps your as­sembly could come up with a really snappy slogan.
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Sean Goan
Gospel Notes
Jesus judgeAt the start of this gospel text Jesus refuses to get involved in a family squabble over an inheritance. It is not his role to be a legislator; his role is to proclaim the vision of God’s kingdom and in the parable which he tells we see the connection between the problem he was asked to solve and that kingdom, for it is on the theme of greed or avarice. The man in the story is troubled because he might not be able to take full advantage of the harvest he has enjoyed. In his discussion with himself it is interesting to notice how many times the words ‘I’ and ‘my’ are found. He is totally self-obsessed and so excludes God and neighbour in his reasoning. In this situation he is not prepared for the ultimate reality, his own death. Jesus points to the meaning of the parable by contrasting the idea of building up riches for oneself with that of being rich in what matters most: one’s relationship with God.

Reflection
Do Paul and the wise man in Ecciesiastes have anything in common? Well it could be said that neither of them thinks much of the world the way it is. However, that’s where their agreement ends. For Ecclesiastes this means that his motto could well be ‘Why bother?’ Paul, on the other hand, knows that God doesn’t want the world the way it is either and that’s why a new creation has been initiated through Christ. So for Paul there is all the reason in the world to bother. God in Christ invites us to put on a new self and live life to the full. The man in the gospel who only wants to build barns for his wealth is a sad reflection for much of today’s world. If only we could learn to want what God wants and devote ourselves to that, what a different place the world would be.
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4. Donal Neary S.J.
 Rich in whose sight?  
— Love not wealth —
You can look around a lot and the gospel today makes sense. It points at how we can get caught up in what we own and what people have. It’s about possessions and how they take us over- or how we react when we lack what we once had. We enjoy wealth but we have a mixed reaction to it.
Saint Ignatius mentioned three obstacles to our faith -wealth,
rich perchhonour, pride. He saw from his own experience that people wanted wealth so that they would be highly thought of
– it can be the right school,
– the right address,
– the right bank.
We have pride in what we have, but as we know, things can change very quickly. Shares go down; you may become ill or die.
The battle is between being rich in the sight of the world and being rich in the sight of God.
The opposites of these obstacles are simplicity, integrity, and humility. Humility is pride in who we are – children of God, brothers and sisters to each other, and accepting ourselves just as we are. We need nothing outside of ourselves to make us feel good about ourselves. This too is simplicity.

What we have is a gift, given to us for the good of the world, the community, the neighbourhood, not just for the good of the self.
And in the end, what matters is that we are judged on love not on wealth. Or if we have had wealth, we will be judged on what we did with it. It can lead us away from God very easily. Do we live like him? Be rich in God – in mercy, love, forgiveness and justice.
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From the Connections:

THE WORD:
enjoy GodRabbis were often asked to arbitrate conflicts within families and communities.  In today’s Gospel, Jesus has been approached to settle such an argument over an inheritance.  Jesus responds not by taking sides but by addressing the greed that has brought both sides to near blows.  He tells the parable of the rich man who, in the midst of his good fortune, loses his sense of what is really important.  Possessions create the illusion that we can control our lives; the drive for gain makes us oblivious to the needs and dreams of others.  The “foolish” rich man in today’s Gospel sadly discovers that wealth in the reign of God has nothing to do with stock portfolios, bank accounts or the social register.
HOMILY POINTS:
We tend to live our lives believing that there will always be enough time to right our wrongs and to atone for our negligence and insensitivities to others – but, in fact, our days are numbered, death is an inevitability for all of us.
We are often as short-sighted as the rich farmer in today’s Gospel: we can become so self-centered and self-sufficient that we shut ourselves off from the seemingly simple aspects of life in which we find the love and presence of God.
Faith is the constant awareness that life is not a destination in itself but a journey to God and that death is the final passageway.
Our lives are not about amassing fortunes or achieving great celebrity – our lives are about finding and embracing selfless and affirming love, about discovering how to love one another as God loves us: totally and completely, without condition nor limit.

A letter to you — you in the year 2025
As the last weeks of summer begin, we’re aware that a new year is upon us.  Sure, the new calendar begins on January 1, but we all know that Labor Day is the real day of transition each year: the beginning of a new school year, the gearing up of a new programming cycle for businesses and organizations.
At the beginning of the fall term at a New England high school, the school’s minister offered this first assignment:
“In fifteen years from now you’ll be in your unimaginable thirties somewhere, and that’s worth thinking about.  What will you remember about this year, I wonder?  Will you remember important things or, like me, only disconnected bits and pieces of things like part of a movie you saw . . . ?  Try writing a letter to the person you will have turned into in fifteen years from now, and in that letter jog your memory about at least a few important things.  Write to yourself who the person is right now that you would rather spend a day with than anybody else in the world.  Write to yourself what you hope you’ll be doing with your life fifteen years from now and also the kind of thing you hope you won’t be doing.  Some people say there is a God and some people say there isn’t; set down in your letter which side you would put your money on today and why.  Set down the last thing that made you cry, and the most beautiful place you’ve ever seen up to now, and the nicest thing anybody has ever done for you and the nicest thing you have ever done for somebody else.  The letter should have things like that in it so you won’t lose track of them, and then give it to somebody to mail to you somewhere in [2025], and my bet is that it will turn out to be one of the most interesting and useful letters you will ever receive.”
[From Secrets in the Dark: A Life in Sermons by Frederick Buechner.]

Every one of us, regardless of our age, should consider writing such a letter every year.   The point of the minister’s assignment to the students is to help them realize the preciousness and fragility of this one short life they have been given.  In the busy-ness of our lives, we forget that we have been given the gift of life by a loving and gracious Creator; instead, we let ourselves be ruled by the mindless pursuit of wealth, status and celebrity, a pursuit that steals our time and attention from those we love and who love us.  We live our lives as if there will always be time “later” to do the things our crammed schedules force us to put off: we can always make it up to our loved ones tomorrow or this weekend or during vacation; as soon as this project is done we will be able to relax — but there is always another project.  Our lives are about finding and embracing selfless and affirming love, about discovering how to love one another as God loves us: totally and completely, without condition or limit.  Jesus’ parable in today’s Gospel is a wake-up call to all of us to remember who God calls us to be: his beloved children, brothers and sisters to one another, given life that we might become fully human and live in the love and compassion that is of God.   You might want to write that down for later.  
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by Fr. Tommy Lane 

There was a wealthy landowner who lived in the Scottish Highlands. He had a stately mansion overlooking a beautiful valley. But there was a basic emptiness in his life. He had no religious belief, he lived alone, possessed by his possessions.

In the gate lodge at the entrance to his estate lived John his farm manager. John was a man of simple faith and deep religious commitment. With his family John was a regular church-goer, the Lord’s presence was a reality in his home and often at night the landowner noticed John’s family on their knees in prayer.

One morning the landowner was looking out on the valley. As he gazed on the beautiful scene he was saying to himself, ‘It is all mine’ when he heard the doorbell ringing. Going down he found John on the door step. ‘What’s the matter John?’ he asked.’ John looked embarrassed. ‘Sir, could I have a word with you?’

‘Sir,’ said John hesitantly, ‘last night I had a dream, and in it the Lord told me that the richest man in the valley would die tonight at midnight. I felt you should know’.

The landowner dismissed him, but John’s words kept bothering him, so much so that at eleven o’clock he took out his car and went to the local doctor for a complete check-up. The doctor examined him, pronounced him fit as a fiddle and said he’d give him another twenty years. The landowner was relieved but a lingering doubt caused him to invite the doctor around. They enjoyed a meal together and shortly after 11.30 the doctor got up to leave but the landowner prevailed on him to remain on.

Eventually when midnight passed and he was still in the land of the living he saw the doctor to the door and then went up the stairs muttering, ‘Silly old John…upset my whole day… him and his dreams!’

No sooner was he in bed when he heard the doorbell ringing. It was 12.30. Going down he found a grief-stricken girl at the door whom he recognized instantly as John’s teenage daughter.

‘Sir,’ she said, looking at him through her tears, ‘Mammy sent me to tell you that Daddy died at midnight.’ The landowner froze as it was suddenly made clear to him who was the richest man in the valley. 

(This is an abbreviated version of the story of the Scottish landowner which I found in Stories for Preachers  pages 77-80 by James A. Feehan, used here with his permission and published by Mercier Press.) 

The Lord is my shepherd;
there is nothing I shall want.
Fresh and green are the pastures
where he gives me repose
Near restful waters he leads me
to revive my drooping spirit.
****
Illustrations:

-A man meeting a genie; 
Three wishes; $1B, pooh a piece of paper with a bank acc. no., a red Ferrari and there it was. Make me irresistible to women; pooh,  he becomes a box of chocolates.
-TV interviewer to a woman: who is your favorite author? My husband. And what does he write? Checks.

-Fisherman:
He caught a large fish. He looked at it and threw back in the river, tried again and caught another large fish. Again he looked at it and threw back in the river. Then he caught a small fish. He pulled out his frying pan, made fire and began frying his fish. There was another man from the other side of the river watching all of these and yelled to him, "Are you crazy? Here I'm trying to catch a fish the last hour and there you are throwing away such nice fish! What's wrong with you?"
"Nothing', the man answered except my frying pan is small!" 

-Why don’t you buy flowers for me as other husbands do. They die in a week. So could you. I would like to have you around.
-Panhandler at the station. Go to that priest over there. He talked me out of one dollar for his church repair.
-not against investment, not against money or riches
-wealth and dependence on one’s own ability;sense of power and arrogance; Howard Hughes: worth $5B when he died; his frame had shrunk from 6.4 to 6.1 and into 80 lbs. No one mourned him when he died except in Las Vegas –kept a 1 minute silence.

-Father from India
visiting his son first time and his son takes him to NY. As they walk near 42nd St., the father turns to the son and says, "Did you hear that? the sound of a cricket somewhere here. "Oh dear father, in this cacophony of noises,  you would have got confused". But the father peered into the hedges and located the cricket. "You have an amazing sense of sound, dad", the son remarked. "Oh, no, son" the father protested, "we've all that ability unless we're real deaf. I'll show you something now." He throws some coins on the side walk and dozen heads turn. "You see they recognize the sound of money1"





THE PARADOX OF TODAY

 Today we have higher buildings and wider highways, but shorter temperaments and narrower points of view.
We have bigger houses, but smaller families.
We spend more, but enjoy less; we have more medicines but less health; We have much more food, but less nutrition.
We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We have finer houses, but more broken homes.
We reached the Moon and came back, but we find it troublesome to cross our own street and meet our neighbours.
We have increased our possessions, But have reduced our values;
Many have higher incomes, but lower morals.
We have more quantity, but are short on quality,
We have learnt to make a living; But not learnt how to live.
We have added years to life; but not life to years.
Many have more leisure, but less good fun.
We can travel long distances; but have trouble crossing the streets!
This age is a time when technology
Can bring this message to you quickly,
But only YOU can decide to act
And make a difference,
OR you can just hit the `delete' key! 

-If you have GOD in your life, food on your table, a roof over
your head, clothes on your back, reasonable income and, love
and faith in your heart...
Be happy and glad.  For anything else that life can offer is nothing more than
La-La.

-People spend their younger days losing health to get wealth and they spend their older days losing wealth to gain health!
-That they live as if they will never die; and die as if they had never lived
-To learn that a rich person is not one who has the most; but is one who needs the least.” 
The Meeting
Years ago a Chicago restaurant had specially printed place mats at all its tables.
The mats were designed exclusively for the restaurant. And if you asked the waitress, she’d give you one to take home, frame, and hang on your wall.
Let me share with you the wording that appeared on those mats. It went something like this:

"In 1923 an important meeting took place at Chicago's Edgewater Beach Hotel. Attending the meeting were the following men:

"The president of the largest steel company, the president of the largest utility company, the president of the largest gas company,

The president of the New York Stock Exchange, the president of the Bank of International Settlements, the greatest wheat speculator, the greatest bear on Wall Street, the head of the world's greatest monopoly, a member of President Harding's cabinet."

That's a pretty impressive line-up of people. Yet, 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants?

According to the story on the place mat, the president of the largest steel company, Charles Schwab, died a bankrupt;
The president of the largest utility company, Samuel Insull, died penniless;
The president of the largest gas company, Howard Hobson, had gone insane;
The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney, was just released from prison; the bank president, Leon Fraser, died a suicide; the wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, died penniless;
The Wall Street bear, Jesse Livermore, died a suicide; the head of the world's greatest monopoly, Ivar Kruegar, died a suicide; the member of President Harding's cabinet, Albert Fall,  also went to prison but was paroled and died in 1944. Leon Fraizer, (8) Jessie Livermore, and Ivar Kreuger each died by suicide.
****
Fr. Jude Botelho:

Today’s reading from Ecclesiastes asks what really matters in life. Even the man who has laboured skillfully must leave what he has acquired to someone else who has not toiled for it at all. Pessimistically the wise man wonders: Has he laboured in vain? Does life make sense? The Book of Ecclesiastes, which is a series of glimpses into life, gives thought to these phenomena. Looking at this world the author came up with one main word to describe it: vanity, which in Hebrew connotes 'vapour' or 'a chase after wind'.

Vanity
Vanity is well illustrated by Aesop's fable of the fox and the crow. The coal-black crow flew into a tree with a stolen piece of meat in her beak. A fox, who saw her, wanted the meat, so he said, "How beautiful you are my friend! Is your voice as beautiful?" The crow was so happy that she opened her mouth to sing. Down fell the piece of meat and the fox seized upon it and ran away. - In our time, vanity could be applicable to the woman who, aiming to prove her contention that men are more vain than women, said in a speech: "It is a pity that most intelligent and learned men attach least importance to the way they dress. Why, right here in this room the most cultivated man is wearing the most clumsily knotted tie!" As if on signal, every man in the room immediately put his hand to his tie to straighten it.

Harold Buetow in 'God still speaks: Listen!'

Today’s Gospel speaks of having our priorities right in life. To many people money appears to be the most important ingredient of life and their constant prayer is that God might give them plenty of money. At times we even ask God to intervene on our behalf in money matters. This does not happen only today but took place even in Jesus' times. A man in the crowd said to Jesus, "Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance." We are well aware how money and inheritance cause family breakups in the best of families today. What is Jesus' response? He could have intervened but he refused to get involved, and preferred the matter be solved by the rightful authorities. Human beings have to take responsibility for their actions and not ask God to intervene in mundane matters. Instead of taking a practical decision in the matter Jesus prefers to point to the principle that should guide our dealings in money matters. "Watch and be on your guard against greed of any kind, for a man's life is not made secure by what he owns, even if he has more than he needs." In the second part of the gospel Jesus tells the parable of the rich fool who messed up his priorities and consequently ruined his life. What makes him foolish is that he spent his whole life storing up earthly wealth and not thinking beyond. If we are building our life on something that does not last we are fools building castles in the sands. The only riches worth pursuing are those that give meaning to life on earth and have eternal value. Is our life principle: "Eat, drink and make merry for today is all that counts!"

"Really Livin!"
In one of his stories Bill Glass, an evangelist tells the story of a multi-millionaire Texas oil man. He wanted to be buried when he died in a solid gold, custom-made Cadillac surrounded by all his wealth. At his funeral a vast crowd assembled to pay their last respects. The dead man was dressed in his finest apparel -the kind Liberace wore when he performed, and was propped up in the front seat of his golden Cadillac. As the car was lowered into the grave, a young boy in the crowd said: "Man, that's really livin!” Bill Glass goes on to emphasize the point of his parable. What we often think of as "'really livin'" is "really dyin". What we often pursue under the illusion of a 'full life' leads only to an 'empty grave'. Today's reading says much the same thing.
Albert Cylwicki in 'His Word Resounds'

The Question
A rich man heard that a certain priest had a 'hot line' to God, and he came to him in search of a favour. He wanted the priest to pray and find out if he, the rich man, was going to heaven when he died. It was a strange request, but when the priest heard that the man was prepared to contribute generously towards the completion of the church repairs, he decided to give it a go. A week later the rich man returned. "Did you find out?" he asked. "Yes I did," replied the priest. "Well then, what's the answer”, the rich man asked very anxiously. "The answer is in two parts" replied the priest. "There is good news, and there's bad news. Which would you like to hear first?" The man was quite nervous, but he ventured to hear the good news first. "The good news is that you are going to heaven when you die." The rich man was thrilled, and excited, and it was a few seconds before he spoke. "That's great. That's the good news. Surely what could be bad news after that? What's the bad news?" "The bad news is that you're going to die tonight!"
Jack McArdle in 'And that's the Gospel Truth'

Candle in the wind
In 1997, at the funeral of Lady Diana Spencer, Singer Elton John brought tears to the eyes of hundreds of mourners in Westminster Abbey when he sang: “Candle in the wind”. Interestingly, this song –with the line “Goodbye Norma Rose” –was originally written for an equally glamorous person, Norma Jeane, who assumed the stage name ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and died some 45 years ago on August 5, 1962 due to an overdose of sleeping pills. Diana and Marilyn share many things in common –both were beautiful and wealthy, photographed by paparazzi worldwide, yet, unhappy in marriage and both died tragically in August aged but 36. Young icons snuffed out like candles in the wind. In vain do we labour for what perishes. Vanity of vanities! All is vanity! All of human life is ultimately meaningless if viewed in itself, apart from God.
Francis Gonsalves in ‘Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds’

Love people and use things
There is a story about an empty village and a stranger who enters the deserted town. Where are the people? All the signs of life are here, nothing is locked, food is on the table, smoke is curling in the chimneys, and stores are open but empty of customers. He doesn’t understand, but he proceeds to have a wonderful time. Soon he is too drunk and happy to realize that the villagers are all on a nearby hill and are desperately trying to signal to him. First they rush outside the town because they were told that a huge bomb in the town square was about to go off. They left everything to save their lives. From a distance they try vainly by gestures and shouting to warn the stranger, taking care not to come too close. They watch him eat their food and drink their liquor, and try on their clothes. But when the happy stranger goes to the bank and flings their money into the air, they forgot everything but their greed. They rush back to the village, beat up the stranger, and drive him out. At that moment the bomb explodes. They all die, except the stranger whom they chased out!!!
John Pichappilly in ‘The Table of the Word’

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From Fr. tony Kadavil's and Others' Collection:

 1.              “He never saw beyond himself.” He was focused on himself and was selfish to the core. He liberally used the “aggressively possessive” pronouns “I” six times and “my” five times respectively. He was possessed by his possessions, instead of possessing them. Consequently, he evicted God from his heart and never thought to thank God for having blessed him with a rich harvest.

 2.              The foolish rich man “never saw beyond this world.” He was punished not for anything wrong he did, but for the good he failed to do. It was his acts of omission rather than of commission that prompted God to cut short his life. Thus, while planning to build new barns and warehouses to store his wealth, he heard the words all creatures will hear one day from their creator: "This night your life will be demanded of you!"

3.              He failed to become “rich in what matters to God.” He was not thankful to God for His blessings; instead, he considered them as solely the fruit of his own labour. He also failed in his stewardship duties – the returning to God of His portion in paying his tithe. Third, he did not recognize his possessions as loan from God, given to him to share with others. Fourth, he was taken up with worries or anxieties about his wealth. He was starving to death spiritually in the midst of God’s abundance.

 4.              An invitation to share our blessings with others. It reminds us that our possessions are merely loaned to us by God, and that we are accountable for their use. We must be generous in sharing our time, our treasure, and our talents, the three elements of Christian stewardship. Every one of us is rich in one thing or another. The parable instructs us to share these gifts. Even if we are poor financially, we may be blessed with intelligence, good will, a sense of humor or the ability to encourage, inspire and support others. 

5.              Let us control our greed. Our greed takes different shapes and forms. For some it may be the desire for the approval and praise of others. For others it is the uncontrolled desire for power, control or fame. For a few others it takes the form of desire for excessive and sinful indulgence in eating, drinking, gambling, drugs or sexual activities. 

6.              Greed Preying on Sympathy: When the friends of Kristen Clougherty learned she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer, they rushed to support her with their prayers and tears.  They raised over $ 40,000. It was all a hoax to get money. She even cut her hair to show the effects of chemo! At Kristen's trial, a scandalized friend observed, "It turns out she was infected with a disease even more deadly than cancer—the disease of greed." 

7.              Lawyer’s and doctor’s greed: A doctor and a lawyer were attending a cocktail party when the doctor was approached by a man who asked advice on how to handle his ulcer. The doc asked the lawyer whether or not he should send a bill for that consultation. “Sure, you should”, he said. The next day the man got a bill from the doc. And the doc got a bill from the lawyer. 

8.              The greedy man and the genie: He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie! The genie says, "Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes." 1 billion dollar, red Ferrari, irresistible to women. Poof…paper and acc. no. for a billion, car and a box of chocolates.

9.              Bottom line: The media create a world of vanity or illusion: They exaggerate trivial things and trivialize great things. Jesus wants to free us from vanity so we can pursue things that matter. This is difficult for us all. We live in a consumer orientated society. Every 12 minutes of TV, at least, is interrupted by messages telling us what we need to buy for happiness. We want the best for our children, but it is easy to slip in the consumer mentality that says the best for our children is that what we can buy them. That is not true. The best gift we can offer our children is giving them who we are. If we want the best for our children, we have to give them the life of Christ that we share.

 10.           Let me give an example. On June 3, 2007, armed gunmen murdered a young priest named Fr. Ragheed Ganni. They first tortured the priest by shooting his arm off and then proceeded to execute him along with three subdeacons (Basman Yousef Daoud, Wadid Hanna and Ghasan Bida Wid). It happened in the city of Mosul right after the Iraqi priest and sub-deacons had offered Sunday Mass. This dramatic event speaks volumes about how civil strife in Iraq is affecting the country's large Christian community. But the media had no time to report the murder of Fr. Ganni. They had more compelling news that week. They gave viewers a minute by minute report on a model named Paris Hilton. This might appear amusing, but it illustrates the world of illusion that surrounds us. The sad part is that the media not only report what is happening; they create the reality we live in. As Pope John Paul II observed, "If it doesn't happen on television, it doesn't happen." 

11.           Common Characteristic

One day, in Springfield, a neighbour of Lincoln's was drawn to his door by the sound of crying children. He saw Lincoln passing by with his two sons both crying lustily. "What is the matter with the boys?" asked the man. "The same that is the matter with the whole world!" answered Lincoln. "I have three walnuts, and each boy wants two."

12.           A philosopher said: "I was walking in a garden when I saw a tree whose branches were so loaded with fruit that they bowed down to the earth. Some of them broke under the heavy weight. 'Poor tree!' I thought. 'Here's one who was destroyed by the overabundance of his success.' " He continued his walk and saw a shepherd at whose feet lay a dead sheep. A wild dog had killed it. All the other sheep had run into the fold and were safe. They had managed to get through a hole in the fence. But the sheep that was killed couldn't get through because it was too fat, and the dog jumped on it. And the philosopher thought, "Another life destroyed by an overabundance of blessings."
***
From Sermons.com:

Comedian Jack Benny, from TV's Golden age, had a skit which illustrated how we place money ahead of everything. He is walking down the street when suddenly he is approached by an armed robber, "Your money or your life!" There is a long pause. Jack does nothing. The robber impatiently queried, "Well?" Jack replied, "Don't rush me, I'm thinking it over."

This morning I would like us to think a few moments about our money and our life. Let's see what Jesus has to say about these two subjects.

The background for our story is an incident that occurred in Galilee as Jesus was teaching to a large crowd. A young man called out from the crowd and said: Rabbi, tell my brother to divide the inheritance of our father." Now, Jewish law clearly prescribed that at the death of a father, the elder son received 2/3 of the inheritance, and the young son received 1/3. This is obviously a younger son who is complaining about the inherent unfairness of it all. Nothing will divide brothers and sisters more than dividing up an estate. So it was then, and so it is now. Jesus refused to get involved in a petty family squabble.

Jesus was concerned, however, with the larger implications of preoccupation with the things of this world. He said: Beware of greed, for life does not consist of things possessed. The sum total of a person's life is more than their financial portfolio.

He then illustrated this point by telling a story. There was once a man who had an unbroken run of prosperity. In today's language, he had successfully played the commodities market. So prosperous did he become that his barns could not hold all of his crops. His solution was to tear down these barns and build bigger and better barns. Then, with his financial security in hand, he could sit back and truly enjoy life. His philosophy was: eat, drink, and be merry.

Truth be told, when we hear this story we find ourselves rather envious of this man. A financially successful man-we see him as savvy and wise. Yet, Jesus concluded the story by saying that this man was a fool.

The issue before us this morning is then: what did this man do wrong? ... 
___________________________ For one reason or another, most people today are concerned about money. It is estimated that 40% of the marriages that fail are the result of conflict over finances. Colleges report that students are forsaking the study of Liberal Arts for courses in accounting, engineering, and business. Newspapers are devoting entire sections to the subject of money. People who just a few years ago were financially illiterate are now following with interest-no pun intended-rates on Certificates of deposit, Money Market accounts, etc. Young couples are being urged to sit down with a financial planner early in their marriage and map out a strategy for achieving their financial goals.

Of course, some persons are concerned about money almost to the point of desperation. A mail carrier tells of greeting a four-year-old boy who had planted himself firmly in front of his family's mailbox and would not budge. With his feet spread wide and his arms folded, he told the mail carrier firmly, "My mom says she can't TAKE any more bills."
All of us are concerned for one reason or another about money. Jesus knew that. It was no different 2,000 years ago. That is why he had so much to say on the subject. Money is an important part of our lives. Indeed, Jesus noted that we will control our money or it will control us. It will either be a blessing to us or a curse. Consider the story about a rich man whose land brought forth so bountifully that he didn't know what to do with the surplus. Most of us would like to have a problem like that, wouldn't we? The man resolved his problem this way, "I will pull down my barns," he said, "and build larger ones; and there I will store all of my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink be merry." You know the conclusion of the story. That very night God came to him and called him a "fool," Why? "This night your soul is required of you," said God, "and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?" Then Jesus adds, "So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."


Isn't it interesting that God should call him a fool not a sinner, not a reprobate but a fool? We have to be very careful here. Scholars assure us that parables are designed to make only one point. But the term "fool" suggests all sorts of things to me. Probably not all of them relate to this rich man, but they do relate to some men and women I have known. Let's think of some reasons God may have called him a fool....
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Three Kinds of Givers

There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb. Which kind are you? To get  anything from the flint, you must hammer it. Yet, all you get are chips and sparks. The flint gives nothing away if it can help it, and even then only with a great display. To get anything from the sponge, you must squeeze it. It readily yields to pressure and the more it is pressed, the more it gives. Still, one has to squeeze it. To get anything from the honeycomb, however, one must only take what freely flows from it. It gives its sweetness generously, dripping on all without pressure, without begging or badgering. The honeycomb is a renewable resource. Unlike the flint or the sponge, the honeycomb is connected to life; it is the product of the ongoing work and creative energy of bees. If you share like a honeycomb giver your life will be continually replenished and grow as you give.

When we share we freely give and we acknowledge that all we have is on loan and others have as much right to the things of God's creation as we do.

Keith Wagner, But, I Need It!

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Forfeiting Freedom

I was intrigued to read recently of a family that put up a hummingbird feeder with four feeding stations (similar to one that hangs outside our kitchen window). Almost immediately it became popular with the hummingbirds that lived in the area. Two, three, or even four birds would feed at one time. The feeder would be refilled at least once a day.

Suddenly the usage decreased to almost nothing. The feeder needed filling only about once a week. The reason for the decreased usage soon became apparent. A male bird had taken over the feeder as his property. He was now the only hummingbird who used it. He would feed and then sit in a nearby tree, rising to attack any bird that approached his feeder. Guard duty occupied his every waking hour. He was an effective guard. The only time another bird got to use the feeder was when the self-appointed owner was momentarily gone to chase away an intruder.

That hummingbird was teaching a valuable lesson. By choosing to assume ownership of the feeder, he forfeited his freedom. He was no longer free to come and go as he wished. He was tied to the work of guarding his feeder, his STUFF. He was possessed by his possession

David E. Leininger, Collected Sermons, www.eSermons.com

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Making the Situation Worse
When I was a kid, I was often ravaged by poison ivy. The key to poison ivy, once you have it, is not to scratch. Restraining yourself is hard, for your skin itches and you want relief. But scratching only makes poison ivy worse.

Avarice works the same way. We get infected, and we want to scratch, although we know we shouldn't do so. Possessing more and more promises relief, but only makes the situation worse. We keep scratching, but it's no solution.

Jesus issues a warning, a warning inspired by a squabble over inheritance, but one that all of us need to hear. He says: "Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one's life does not consist in the abundance of possessions."

Clarence Jordan's translation of this verse brings out its original earthiness. Here's what Jesus says according to Jordan: "You all be careful and stay on your guard against all kinds of greediness. For a person's life is not for the piling up of possessions."

In these few words, Jesus rejects much of what keeps our society humming. He warns us against greed, avarice, the desire to possess more than we need, more than we can use, more than we want.

Charles Hoffacker, Avarice: The Disease and Its Cure __________________

The Dollars Are in the Way

Henry Ford once asked an associate about his life goals. The man replied that his goal was to make a million dollars. A few days later Ford gave the man a pair of glasses made out of two silver dollars. He told the man to put them on and asked what he could see. "Nothing," the man said. "The dollars are in the way." Ford told him that he wanted to teach him a lesson: If his only goal was dollars, he would miss a host of greater opportunities. He should invest himself in serving others, not simply in making money.


That's a great secret of life that far too few people discover. Money is important. No question about that. But money is only a means by which we reach higher goals. Service to others. Obedience to God. God comes to the rich man and says, "You fool! This very night your life will be demanded from you. Then who will get what you have prepared for yourself?" The answer was clear. The rich man had put his trust in things. Now he was leaving these things behind.

King Duncan,


www.Sermons.com, Collected Sermons
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Rich in Things, Poor in Soul

This is how I see our situation today: We're killing ourselves on junk food - we watch mindless drivel on TV with vulgar displays of sexuality and horrific scenes of violence; we listen to endless chatter on the radio with never-ending conflict and criticism; we chase after every conceivable form of entertainment and pleasure; all the while, coming up empty and, ironically, craving for more.

We're like children in a video arcade - no matter how many quarters or tokens you give them, when the last game's over, they always ask for "just one more." There's no end to it. In the words of Harry Emerson Fosdick, we're "rich in things and poor in soul."

What's the answer? The answer is that we need to get back to the basics and re-establish our priorities. In a word, we need to put God first. We need to follow the Great Commandment, to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself." (Mt. 22:37-39) It's as simple as that: "Seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you." (Mt. 6:33)

Philip W. McLarty, The Parable of the Rich Fo___________________________________
How Wealthy Are We?

From the standpoint of material wealth, we Americans have difficulty realizing how rich we are. Robert Heilbroner, who has written dozens of books on the subject of the economy, suggest that we go through a little mental exercise that will help us count our blessings. Imagine doing the following, and you will see how daily life is for more than a billion people in the world.

1. Take out all the furniture in your home except for one table and a couple of chairs. Use blanket and pads for beds.
2. Take away all of your clothing except for your oldest dress or suit, shirt or blouse. Leave only one pair of shoes.
3. Empty the pantry and the refrigerator except for a small bag of flour, some sugar and salt, a few potatoes, some onions, and a dish of dried beans.
4. Dismantle the bathroom, shut off the running water, and remove all the electrical wiring in your house.
5. Take away the house itself and move the family into the tool shed.
6. Place your "house" in a shantytown.
7. Cancel all subscriptions to newspapers, magazines, and book clubs. This is no great loss because now none of you can read anyway.
8. Leave only one radio for the whole shantytown.
9. Move the nearest hospital or clinic ten miles away and put a midwife in charge instead of a doctor.
10. Throw away your bankbooks, stock certificates, pension plans, and insurance policies. Leave the family a cash hoard of ten dollars.
11. Give the head of the family a few acres to cultivate on which he can raise a few hundred dollars of cash crops, of which one third will go to the landlord and one tenth to the money lenders.
12. Lop off twenty-five or more years in life expectancy.

By comparison how rich we are! And with our wealth comes responsibility. We should use it wisely, not be wasteful, and help others.

The list comes from economist Robert Heilbroner
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Money Is Like Sea Water

Someone asked John D. Rockefeller (of all people) "How much wealth does it take to satisfy a person?" He replied, "Just a little bit more." The Romans had a proverb: "Money is like sea water; the more you drink, the thirstier you become."

Carveth Mitchell, The Sign in the Subway, CSS Publishing Company
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Covetousness

Covetousness, or the desire to have more than one has (not necessarily through envy of somebody else) not only leads to strife but also expresses a fundamentally wrong philosophy of life, according to which possessions are all that really matter.

I.H. Marshall, New Bible Commentary, Revised (1970): Luke, p. 908
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The Rich Man's Reward

There is an old story about a very wealthy man who died and went to heaven.  An angel guided him on a tour of the celestial city. He came to a magnificent home. „Who lives there?‟ asked the wealthy man. „Oh,‟ the angel answered, „on earth he was your gardener.‟ The rich man got excited.  If this was the way gardeners live, just think of the kind of mansion in which he would spend eternity. They came to an even more magnificent abode. „Who's is this?‟ asked the rich man almost overwhelmed. The angel answered, „She spent her life as a missionary.‟ The rich man was really getting excited now. Finally they came to a tiny eight-by-eight shack with no window and only a piece of cloth for a door.  It was the most modest home the rich man had ever seen. „This is your home,‟ said the angel. The wealthy man was flabbergasted. „I don't understand. The other homes were so beautiful.  Why is my home so tiny?‟ The angel smiled sadly, „I'm sorry,‟ he said. „We did all we could with what you sent us to work with...
(source unknown). 

Out of the abundance we receive, we are to cheerfully give to the poor.  We are to cheerfully support the ministries of the church.  We are to respond joyfully to the extravagant generosity of God.
****
From Fr. Tony Kadavil's Collection:


1: Candle in the Wind: The wedding of Princess Diana (Diana Spencer), in 1981, was watched by 750 million people. She died in an accident at 36 on August 31, 1997. Her funeral in 1997 was viewed by 2.5 billion people. At her funeral, singer Elton John brought tears to the eyes of hundreds of mourners in Westminster Abbey when he sang: “Candle in the Wind.” (Watch: https://youtu.be/cxyf1caYbbU & Lyrics: http://www.letssingit.com/elton-john-lyrics-candle-in-the-wind-princess-diana-tribute-tf412h4) Interestingly, this song – with the line “Goodbye, Norma Rose” – was originally written for an equally glamorous woman, Norma Jeanne, who assumed the stage name ‘Marilyn Monroe’ and died at 36 on August 5, 1962, due to an overdose of sleeping pills. (https://youtu.be/7eIl_b5nHcE & https://youtu.be/w-M8Hi3vNKM). Diana and Marilyn share many things in common – both were beautiful and wealthy, photographed by paparazzi worldwide, yet, unhappy in marriage or relationships, and both died tragically in August at a young age – young icons snuffed out like candles in the wind. Ecclesiastes gives bad news to those who base their hopes on the perishable wealth and goods of this world, offering us a stark message: vanity of vanities, all is vanity! All of human life is ultimately meaningless if viewed in itself, apart from God. Five days after Princes Diana died there was another “going home,” this one for Mother Teresa (canonized as St. Teresa of Calcutta) who died on Oct 4, 1997 at 86). She was a “wise woman,” spending her whole life sharing Christ’s selfless, caring agape love with the down- trodden in the streets of Calcutta. God blessed her sharing love by increasing her 12-member Missionaries of Charity congregation to 3000 serving the poor and the discarded in 100 countries. (Watch Mother Teresa’s simple funeral: https://youtu.be/cVreDCb3w0s) (Francis Gonsalves in Sunday Seeds for Daily Deeds).
2: “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” Dr. Carl Menninger, the world-renowned psychiatrist, was talking on one occasion to an unhappy but wealthy patient. He asked the patient what he was going to do with so much money. The patient replied, “Just worry about it, I suppose.” Menninger asked, “Well, do you get that much pleasure from worrying about it?” “No,” responded the patient, “but I get terrified when I think of giving some of it to somebody else.” Then Dr. Menninger went on to say something quite profound. He said, “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” (David A. Renwick, http://www.2preslex.org/S020217.htm.) I didn’t say that. Dr. Carl Menninger said it. “Generous people are rarely mentally ill.” He is right. People who cannot share with others have deep-seated problems. If your level of giving to the work of God and the service of others requires no sacrifice, then you have Jesus locked in a cupboard, and he is not really living in every part of your life. In today’s Gospel Jesus’ parable, God calls such people “fools.” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

3: Needs and wants: In an effort to lead her young charges on an exploration of their values, a second-grade teacher gave the following assignment to her class. Take a large piece of poster paper or cardboard and draw a line down the center. On the left side of the paper, write “Needs”; on the right side, put “Wants”. Then, either draw or cut pictures out of old magazines, which illustrate your needs and wants. A few days later, when the assignment was due, the classroom was filled with colorful and candid reminders of the materialistic matrix within which Christianity is challenged to make an impact. Little fingers and small hands had cut out images of video game systems, giant-screen color televisions, ten-speed bicycles, as well as ice-cream sundaes, cookies and a large assortment of candies. Unfortunately, many of these pictures were posted on the side of the poster labeled, “Needs”! Obviously, the teacher had her work cut out for her. To distinguish needs from wants and then to discern true needs from false and frivolous ones is no easy task; it is, in fact, a lifelong process which requires continued evaluation. Had the same assignment been given to a classroom of adolescents or to a group of adults, would the results have been different? Or would the pictures simply have reflected the tastes and appetites of older people for sports cars, designer and name brand clothing, speed boats, luxurious homes, and the lifestyles of the rich and famous. Would the more mature person also have skewed the line between needs and wants? Questions such as these are put before the gathered assembly today as the selected readings prompt a careful consideration of the integrity and authenticity of personal and communal values. (Sanchez Files) (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

4)  Lawyer’s greed and doctor’s greed: A doctor and a lawyer were attending a cocktail party when the doctor was approached by a man who asked advice on how to handle his ulcer. The doctor mumbled some medical advice, then turned to the lawyer and remarked, “I never know how to handle the situation when I’m asked for medical advice during a social function. Is it acceptable to send a bill for such advice?” The lawyer replied that it was certainly acceptable to do so. The next day, the doctor sent the ulcer-stricken man a bill. The lawyer also sent a bill to the doctor.
5) The greedy man and the genie. A man is walking down the beach and comes across an old bottle. He picks it up, pulls out the cork and out pops a genie!
The genie says, “Thank you for freeing me from the bottle. In return I will grant you three wishes.”
The man says “Great! I always dreamed of this and I know exactly what I want. First, I want one billion dollars in a Swiss bank account.”
Poof! There is a flash of light and a piece of paper with account numbers appears in his hand!
He continues, “Next, I want a brand-new red Ferrari right here.”
Poof! There is a flash of light and a bright red, brand-new Ferrari appears right next to him!
He continues, “Finally, I want to be irresistible to women.”
Poof! There is a flash of light and he turns into a box of chocolates.
6) A rich fool in a Boeing 707: An old lady was on a flight.  She was sitting beside a rich, young businessman. After the in-flight meal she took out her Holy Bible and started her devotions. The businessman glanced at her and said,   “Do you really believe all that stuff in the Bible is true?
“Well, yes, as a matter of fact I do,” said the old lady.
“Yeah, right…” the man scoffed, “like… what’s that guy’s name… the one who got swallowed by a whale…”
“You mean Jonah?”
“Yeah, Jonah.  Do you actually believe he could have survived for three days in the belly of a fish?”
“Yes. I don’t know how,” she replied, “but I can ask him when I see him in Heaven someday.”
Feeling smart, the young man said: “OK, but what if he’s not in Heaven because he went to Hell?”
“Then you can ask him yourself when you get there, “replied the old lady calmly.

27- additional anecdotes:

1) “What does each get?”” 6th grade teacher posed the following problem to her arithmetic classes: “A wealthy man dies and leaves ten million dollars. One-fifth is to go to his wife, one-fifth is to go to his son, one-sixth to his butler, and the rest to charity. Now, what does each get?” After a very long silence in the classroom, little Joey raised his hand. The teacher called on Joey for his answer. With complete sincerity in his voice, Joey answered, “A lawyer!” He’s probably right. Where there is a will, there is often a lawsuit. Someone in the crowd listening to Jesus said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

2) Vanity of vanities: Years ago, a Chicago restaurant had specially printed place mats at all its tables. The mats were designed exclusively for the restaurant with the following decorative writing: “In 1923 an important meeting took place at Chicago’s Edgewater Beach Hotel. Attending the meeting were the following men: The president of the largest steel company, the president of the largest utility company, the president of the largest gas company, the president of the New York Stock Exchange, the president of the bank of International Settlements, the greatest wheat speculator, the greatest bear on Wall Street, the head of the world’s greatest monopoly, and a member of President Harding’s cabinet.”  That’s a pretty impressive lineup of people. Yet 25 years later, where were those nine industrial giants? The president of the largest steel company, Charles Schwab, died bankrupt. The president of the largest utility company, Samuel Insull, died penniless. The president of the largest gas company, Howard Hobson, had gone insane. The president of the New York Stock Exchange, Richard Whitney had just been released from prison. The wheat speculator, Arthur Cutten, died penniless. The member of President Harding’s cabinet, Albert Fall, had just been given pardon from prison so that he could die at home. The bank president, Leon Fraser, the Wall Street Bear, Jesse Livermore and the head of the world’s greatest monopoly, Ivar Kruegar, committed suicide. In terms of today’s Gospel parable these would be nine fools. (Mark Link in Sunday Homilies), (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

3) Silver glasses: : Henry Ford once asked an associate about his life goals. The man replied that his goal was to make a million dollars. A few days later Ford gave the man a pair of glasses made out of two silver dollar coins. He told the man to put them on and asked what he could see. “Nothing,” the man said. “The dollars are in the way.” Ford told him that he wanted to teach him a lesson: If his only goal was dollars, he would miss a host of greater opportunities. He should invest himself in serving others not simply in making money. That’s a great secret of life that far too few people discover. Money is important. No question about that. But money is only a means by which we reach higher goals – loving service to others, loving obedience to God. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/)

4) “Rich American with big checkbook has told a joke.” A wealthy American textile buyer attending a luncheon in Seoul, Korea, told a lengthy but amusing joke. When his translator repeated it in just a few phrases, the audience laughed loudly and applauded. The rich American asked the translator how he was able to translate the story with so few words. “It was not a problem,” the translator said. “I told them, ‘Rich American with big checkbook has told a joke. Do what you think is appropriate.’” We are fascinated by people of great wealth — whether they are Donald Trump, Oprah Winfrey, Bill Gates, or Warren Buffet. Aren’t you glad, by the way, that the latter three have decided to use at least part of their great wealth to do good? As for “The Donald,” who knows what the future holds for him? We can only hope, and perhaps, pray, that one day he will stand for more than conspicuous consumption. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

5) A reign of more than fifty years, but only fourteen genuinely happy days. The historian, Gibbon, tells about a man named Abdul Rahman. Abdul Rahman was one of the Muslim Caliphs of Spain. He built for his pleasure the city, palace, and gardens of Zehra, beautifying them with the costliest marbles, sculptures, gold and pearls. He had sixty-three hundred persons — wives, concubines, and eunuchs — at his service. His guard had belts and scimitars studded with gold. And yet, at his death, the following authentic memorial was found commemorating his life: “I have now reigned above fifty years in victory and peace . . . Riches, honors, power, pleasure . . .” Then the caliph adds these words to his epitaph: “the days of pure and genuine happiness which have fallen to my lot: they amount to fourteen.” A reign of more than fifty years, but only fourteen genuinely happy days. Full barns–empty souls. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

6) 1.3 billion feet of rentable space: George Carlin said, “The essence of life is trying to find a place to put all your stuff.” In a real way he is probably right, though he was telling a joke. A close friend of mine owns mini-warehouses. Every time I see him I ask, “How’s business?” And with a big smile he says, “Business could never be better because America is full of stuff.” We have 32,000 self-storage businesses nationwide containing 1.3 billion feet of rentable space. One hundred million storage containers are sold by Rubbermaid each year so that we have some place to store our stuff. In fact, in the Tennessean today you can read that professional organizers will come to your house for as much as $75.00 per hour and organize your stuff for you so you can have a place to store it in a convenient manner. Today’s Gospel tells us that life is more than your stuff. Life is more than your accomplishments. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

7) “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” We are all familiar with the hit television show “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” Well, USA Today recently said the answer is: “Everybody.” In an article entitled, “Everyone wants a shot at being a millionaire,” I found out that we are a country drowning in millionaires. The estimate is there are now around five million Americans with assets of $1 million or more; while just ten years ago there were fewer than half that number. Billionaires are multiplying even faster. In 1983 Forbes counted 13 American billionaires; today there are 267. Never before in the history of this country has so much money been made so quickly by so many people. [“Everyone wants a shot at being a millionaire,” USA Today, Maria Puente, N.D.] Well, on the one hand it may not be wrong to want to be a millionaire, but it can be very dangerous as explained by today’s Gospel. Did you know that eighty-five out of one hundred Americans have less than $250 in savings when they reach age sixty-five? Did you know that in the event of a loss of income or unexpected major expense, the average American family is three to six weeks away from bankruptcy? [Randy C. Alcorn, Money, Possessions and Eternity (Wheaton, Illinois: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., 1989).] (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

8) Actress searching for her most valuable possessions to save from fire: At the turn of the century, actress Alla Nazimova was one of this country’s earliest stars. Unlike many of her colleagues, Nazimova did not become trapped by a glamorous lifestyle. How did she escape? Her perspective on material things changed the day a fire swept through her Hollywood neighborhood. As the fire moved ever closer to her home, Nazimova ran from room to room, searching for her most valuable possessions to save. To her surprise, none of her pretty furnishings and knick-knacks mattered to her at that moment. The only things she took with her were a few photographs. The fire never reached Nazimova’s house, but when she returned to it, nothing felt the same. She began getting rid of her possessions, and reported greater happiness with fewer things. (3) Most of us can relate to that if we will think about it. Why do we get trapped in this cycle of wanting more and more nice things? Jesus in today’s Gospel says God does not call us evil people; simply foolish. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

9) “We’re too poor to give money to charity:” Sam Foss, a writer and traveler, discovered a rustic little house in England situated at the top of a hill. A signpost read: “Help yourself to a cool drink.” Nearby he found a spring of ice-cold water. An old-fashioned gourd dipper hung above the spring, and on a bench was a basket of summer apples, along with another sign inviting passersby to help themselves. Foss was curious about the people who showed such hospitality to strangers. An elderly couple answered when he knocked at the door. Foss asked them about the well and the apples. They explained that their little plot of ground yielded a scant living, but because they were fortunate enough to have a well with abundant cold water, they wanted to share it with anyone who happened by. “We’re too poor to give money to charity,” said the husband, “but we thought that this would be a good way to do something for the folks who pass our way.” [Donald E. and Vesta W. Mansell, Sure As the Dawn (Review & Herald Publishing Association, 1993).] It’s amazing how some people whom the world categorizes as smart, God sees as foolish, and how others whom the world sees as foolish, God knows to be wise. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

10) The dynamite king dies: In 1888, Alfred Nobel picked up a French newspaper and read his own obituary. His brother had died and by mistake, the newspaper printed Alfred’s obituary instead. In it, Alfred Nobel was remembered as the dynamite king, the merchant of death, a person who had amassed a great fortune out of explosives used extensively in wars. Alfred Nobel didn’t like what he read. He set out to make a better name for himself. He established among other things the Nobel Peace Prize, which today continues to honor persons around the world who have championed the cause of peace. Alfred Nobel moved from success to significance. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

11) “But we thank you anyway.” In the movie Shenandoah, James Stewart plays a Virginia farmer during the Civil War years. He begins every meal with the same prayer: “Lord, I planted the seeds, I plowed the ground, I gathered in the harvest. If I hadn’t of put the food on the table it wouldn’t be here. But we thank you anyway.” He forgot the truth that nature, by God’s providence, provides 95% of the energies necessary to produce a crop, while the farmer provides only 5%. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

12) Money as an idol or a tool or “my first, last and only love.” Bible teacher Howard Hendricks tells about dining with a rich man from a blueblood Boston family. Hendricks asked him, “How in the world did you grow up in the midst of such wealth and not be consumed by materialism?” The rich man answered like this: “My parents taught us that everything in our home was either an idol or a tool.” That’s the difference: money as an idol or a tool, money as a servant or a master, money as a means or an end. Industrialist Armand Hammer once said, “Money is my first, last and only love.” If so, that is sad. Money is only an instrument, not the symphony itself. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

13) Black Monday tragedy: On Black Monday, October 19, 1987, the Dow Jones average plunged 508 points. As it plunged the Pacific Stock Exchange requested that a suicide watch be placed on the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. During the same week in Miami, a longtime speculator who lost large sums in the market’s crash walked into the local Merrill Lynch brokerage office and requested to see his broker and the office manager. He opened his briefcase, took out a handgun, and shot and killed the two men and himself. A friend commented, “His entire life was devoted to the market, and it collapsed around him.” [John A. Stroman, Thunder from the Mountain (Nashville: Upper Room).] So it is with those who make money their god. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

14) “Yes, God is there, but those fellows don’t know it.” A teacher was talking to a class of little boys about the presence of God in daily life. He asked them if God is everywhere, and they correctly answered, “Yes.” In an effort to get the matter closer to their own personal living, he named actual situations. Is God in the Church? Yes. Is God in the home? Yes. On the street? Yes. Is God in the city prison? Silence. That one had them stopped. Finally, one boy came up with as good an answer as I’ve heard. “Yes, God is there, but those fellows don’t know it.” That was this man’s trouble, wasn’t it? God was in his life, but he didn’t know it. God was in his fruits, God was in his fields, God was in his goods. God was everywhere except in his gratitude. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

15) The rich fool: When medicine was primitive, years ago, doctors, not knowing exactly what to prescribe to their patients, often prescribed sugar pills or bottles of colored water with no medicinal value with the assurance that some of their patients would still experience some relief as soon as the so-called medicine was taken. This form of treatment is called “the placebo effect,” and it has been noted that 30 to 60 per cent of those persons who receive a placebo — not real medicine but a harmless substitute — will experience some relief. Let’s consider for a few moments some of these placebos. Twenty years ago, there was a Greek tycoon whose name was a household word in this country. You have already guessed Aristotle Onassis. Onassis once said, “All that really counts these days is money. It’s the people with money that are the royalty now.” By that maxim, Onassis lived like a king. He had every plaything that you and I can imagine. He personified on a grand scale the excesses of the so called “jet set.” He had residences in half a dozen cities, a tropical island of his own, and an elegant art collection. He boasted the world’s most lavish yacht, the CHRISTINA, a 325-foot rebuilt Canadian frigate complete with sumptuous bathrooms lined in Siena marble and fitted with gold-plated faucets. He enjoyed the company of beautiful women and startled the entire world on October 20, 1968 by marrying one of the most famous and glamorous women on earth, the widow of a beloved former president of the United States Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

Aristotle Onassis had it all everything in this world that money can buy. But money is a placebo, an illusion. Nothing that we own is permanently ours. Nothing we own can meet our deepest needs. Life changed dramatically for Aristotle Onassis in 1973, when his son, Alexander, then twenty-four, was killed in a plane crash. “He aged overnight,” observed a close associate. “He suddenly became an old man.” Aristotle Onassis, the shrewd businessman, became absentminded and to a certain extent irrational. In the next two years, the value of his holdings declined by one-half. When he died, he was a sad, tired old man. He had no inner resources to deal with life’s greatest tragedies. He only had a placebo, his wealth, and it was not enough. (Time, March 24, 1975). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

16) “No, I have the same house, same car, same friends, same wife.” Robert Fulghum is a best-selling author. His best-known book is titled All I Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. More than 15 million copies of his books are in print, and they are sold around the world. Needless to say, he has done very well financially. In an interview several years ago with a Christian magazine called The Door, Fulghum reported that since his success, people are always saying, “Well, you must have a big house and a big car.” And he responds, “No, I have the same house, same car, same friends, same wife.” Fulghum admits to being on guard against all kinds of greed, and is committed to serving God, not money. Of course, fame is a challenge, Fulghum admits, “and the challenge is to be a good steward with this kind of authority and power‑-especially with the economics.” So one year he did a book tour, and used it to raise $670,000 for a number of good causes. “I don’t think I should be given extra credit for doing that,” he says. “I think you should think ill of me if I didn’t do that.” Death doesn’t scare Fulghum. In fact, in one of his books is a picture of the grave he has already picked out, and he likes to visit it. It reminds him to live for the goal of laying up for himself treasures in Heaven. And when Fulghum sees the grave, he says to himself, “Don’t get lost here. Know where you’re going.” [Dr. Daniel Lioy, Tarbell’s Lesson Commentary, September 2004‑August 2005 (Colorado Springs: Cook Communications).] Good advice. I don’t know if he learned this in kindergarten or not. My guess is he learned it from today’s Gospel. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

17) “You look just like my fourth husband.” The Greek word for covetousness is very interesting. It literally means “a thirst for having more.” It refers to the attitude of wanting whatever you see and wanting more of it once you get it. I read about an old lady who moved to a retirement home, and she began to stare at this one particular man who had been in that retirement home for years. She would go to breakfast and sit right across the table from him and just stare at him. She would go to lunch, sit right across the table and stare at him. She would go to dinner and do the same thing. If he went out to the front porch to rock, she would go out and sit in the rocker next to him and just stare at him. After she did that for about four days, he said, “Lady, why do you keep staring at me?” She said, “You look just like my fourth husband.” He said, “How many husbands have you had?” She said, “Three.” I heard about a mother who saw her two-year-old boy swallow a nickel. She immediately ran over to him, picked him up, turned him upside down, began to beat him on the back. Well the little boy coughed up two quarters. This time she did go into a panic. She yelled for her husband who came running up and said, “What happened?” She said, “Billy just swallowed a nickel and I hit him, and he coughed up two quarters. What should I do?” He said, “Keep feeding him nickels!” Greedy “fools” everywhere. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

18) A bigger Fool: The story is told of a king of tremendous wealth who gave his jester a wand, saying “Keep this wand until you find a greater fool than yourself.” The jester laughingly accepted the wand and used it on festive occasions. One day the king lay dying. Calling the jester to his bedside he said, “I am going on a long journey.” “Where to?” asked the jester. “I don’t know.” came the reply. “What provisions have you made for the trip?” the jester asked. The king shrugged his shoulders. “None at all.” “Then” said the jester, “take this.” And placing the wand in the king’s hands, he added, “it belongs to you. You are a greater fool than I.” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

19) The source of happiness or the cause of our..: We read that Elvis Presley was phenomenally rich. He owned eight cars, six motorbikes, two aeroplanes, sixteen television sets, a vast mansion, and several bulging bank accounts. On top of all this he was a superstar literally idolized by fans from all over the world. With all of this one would have expected him to be supremely happy. Ironically that was far from the truth. In spite of fame, wealth and success, Elvis Presley experienced within himself a spiritual malaise and would often complain of both loneliness and boredom. In one particular interview, he very frankly confessed, “I never, never imagined that money would bring so many headaches!” Sadly, as we all know, the end came sooner rather than later, at the premature age of 42, leaving the entire world speechless with shock and benumbed with grief. The world had lost an idol, and the music world had lost a superstar. – The accountant of John D. Rockefeller, the wealthiest man that ever lived in the USA, was once asked how much money the world-famous billionaire left behind. Without batting an eyelid, the accountant honestly answered with just one word, “Everything!” (James Valladares in Your Words, O Lord, Are Spirit, and They Are Life). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

20) Charles Dickens in his story, “A Christmas Carol,” gives the picture of a selfish man, Mr. Scrooge, whose sole aim in life was acquiring as much wealth as possible at any cost. He considered Christmas celebrations as humbug, and hated charity. He weighed human relationship against material wealth. He never bothered to care for his nephew or his employees. One day night, he saw an unusual figure in his bedroom. It was a ghost in chains. The ghost introduced himself as the ghost of his deceased partner. He came to warn Mr. Scrooge about the futility of the life that he was leading. He told him that some spirits would come to him and he should listen to their message, to avoid the fate that Marley was suffering. First came the ghost of the past. He took Mr. Scrooge to his past. He was presented as a young man who did not heed the voice of his parents; who abandoned the love of a beautiful maiden to amass wealth. The second ghost, the ghost of the present, took him to the Church where Christmas celebrations were being held; and to the house of one of his employees. The third ghost took him to the future. He was taken to a house where a dead body lay unattended and unlamented by anyone. He was curious to see the dead man. The ghost allowed him to see the corpse. Mr. Scrooge was shocked it was his own death scene. There he witnessed what others thought of him. Everyone hated him due to his over attachment to wealth and was glad he had died. Mr. Scrooge learned a great lesson that his frantic chase for wealth was meaningless. It would only lead him to eternal misery. The whole experience brought Scrooge to complete conversion, with money as the servant to bring life to all around him. This is the message of today’s readings. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

21) “But God said to him: ‘You fool!” The discovery of the tomb of King Tutankhamun gives amble evidence for this. When his tomb was opened, they found great treasure buried along with his body. The list of contents describes breath taking treasure and different types of objects, many of them were made of gold and silver and encrusted with precious jewels. There were gold ornaments, silver ornaments, jewelry, furniture, weapons, thrones, jars, bots, chariots clothes and statues representing servant. The man in the story of Jesus too is like this. He exhorted himself, “eat heartily, drink well, and enjoy yourself.” He gave no consideration to his end. But God said to him: “You fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?” St. Paul advises us, “Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth.” (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

21) Vanity: Vanity is well illustrated by Aesop’s fable of the fox and the crow. The coal-black crow flew into a tree with a stolen piece of meat in her beak. A fox, who saw her, wanted the meat, so he said, “How beautiful you are my friend! Is your voice as beautiful?” The crow was so happy that she opened her mouth to sing. Down fell the piece of meat and the fox seized upon it and ran away. – In our time, vanity could be applicable to the woman who, aiming to prove her contention that men are more vain than women, said in a speech: “It is a pity that most intelligent and learned men attach least importance to the way they dress. Why, right here in this room the most cultivated man is wearing the most clumsily knotted tie!” As if on signal, every man in the room immediately put his hand to his tie to straighten it.
(Harold Buetow in God Still Speaks: Listen! Quoted by Fr. Botelho). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

22) “Really Livin!” In one of his stories Bill Glass, an evangelist tells the story of a multi-millionaire Texas oil man. He wanted to be buried when he died in a solid gold, custom-made Cadillac surrounded by all his wealth. At his funeral a vast crowd assembled to pay their last respects. The dead man was dressed in his finest apparel — the kind Liberace wore when he performed — and was propped up in the front seat of his golden Cadillac. As the car was lowered into the grave, a young boy in the crowd said: “Man, that’s really livin!” Bill Glass goes on to emphasize the point of his parable. What we often think of as “‘really livin'” is “really dyin’.” What we often pursue under the illusion of a “full life’” leads only to an ’empty grave’. Today’s reading says much the same thing. (Albert Cylwicki in His Word Resounds; quoted by Fr. Botelho). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

23) The Question: A rich man heard that a certain priest had a “hot line” to God, and he came to him in search of a favour. He wanted the priest to pray and find out if he, the rich man, was going to Heaven when he died. It was a strange request, but when the priest heard that the man was prepared to contribute generously towards the completion of the church repairs, he decided to give it a go. A week later the rich man returned. “Did you find out?” he asked. “Yes, I did,” replied the priest. “Well then, what’s the answer”, the rich man asked very anxiously. “The answer is in two parts” replied the priest. “There is good news, and there’s bad news. Which would you like to hear first?” The man was quite nervous, but he ventured to hear the good news first. “The good news is that you are going to Heaven when you die.” The rich man was thrilled, and excited, and it was a few seconds before he spoke. “That’s great. That’s the good news. Surely what could be bad news after that? What’s the bad news?” “The bad news is that you’re going to die tonight!” (Jack McArdle in And That’s the Gospel Truth! Quoted by Fr. Botelho). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

24) The paradox of today: Today we have higher buildings and wider highways, but shorter tempers and narrower points of view.
We have bigger houses, but smaller families.
We spend more but enjoy less; we have more medicines but less health; we have much more food, but less nutrition.
We have multiplied our possessions but reduced our values. We have finer houses, but more broken homes.
We reached the Moon and came back, but we find it troublesome to cross our own street and meet our neighbors.
We have increased our possessions, but we have reduced our values;
Many have higher incomes, but lower morals.
We have more quantity, but are short on quality,
We have learned to make a living, but not how to live.
We have added years to life, but not life to years.
Many have more leisure, but less good fun.
We can travel long distances, but have trouble crossing the streets!
(But if you have GOD in your life, food on your table, a roof over your head, clothes on your back, reasonable income and, love and faith in your heart… Be happy and glad. For anything else that life can offer is nothing more than La-La.
-People spend their younger days losing health to get wealth and they spend their older days losing wealth to gain health!
– They live as if they will never die and die as if they had never lived.
– A rich person is not one who has the most, but one who needs the least.” (Quoted by Fr. Tony Kayala)(http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

25) Be honeycomb-givers: There are three kinds of givers: the flint, the sponge, and the honeycomb. Which kind are you? To get anything from the flint, you must hammer it. Yet, all you get are chips and sparks. The flint gives nothing away if it can help it, and even then, only with a great display. To get anything from the sponge, you must squeeze it. It readily yields to pressure and the more it is pressed, the more it gives. Still, one has to squeeze it. To get anything from the honeycomb, however, all one must do is take what freely flows from it. The comb gives its sweetness generously, dripping on all without pressure, without begging or badgering. The honeycomb is a renewable resource. Unlike the flint or the sponge, the honeycomb is connected to life; it is the product of the ongoing work and creative energy of bees. If you share like a honeycomb-giver your life will be continually replenished and grow as you give. When we share, we freely give, and we acknowledge that all we have is on loan and others have as much right to the things of God’s creation as we do. (Keith Wagner, But, I Need It!). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

26) The Rich Man’s Reward: There is an old story about a very wealthy man who died and went to heaven. An angel guided him on a tour of the celestial city. He came to a magnificent home. “Who lives there?” asked the wealthy man. “Oh,” the angel answered, “on earth he was your gardener.” The rich man got excited. If this was the way gardeners lived, just think of the kind of mansion in which he would spend eternity! They came to an even more magnificent abode. “Who’s is this?” asked the rich man almost overwhelmed. The angel answered, “She spent her life as a missionary.” The rich man was really getting excited now. Finally, they came to a tiny eight-by-eight shack with no window and only a piece of cloth for a door. It was the most modest home the rich man had ever seen. “This is your home, ‟ said the angel. The wealthy man was flabbergasted. “I don’t understand. The other homes were so beautiful. Why is my home so tiny?” The angel smiled sadly, “I’m sorry, ‟ he said. “We did all we could with what you sent us to work with…” Out of the abundance we receive, we are to give cheerfully to the poor. We are to support the ministries of the church cheerfully. We are to respond joyfully to the extravagant generosity of God. (Fr. Tony Kayala). (http://frtonyshomilies.com/).

27) $100 million divorce money and $20 for church and charities: Did you read about the couple in Florida who had been married twenty-one years and were getting a divorce? The terms of the settlement called for the woman to be able to maintain “a reasonable lifestyle.” Since the couple listed their assets at $100 million, here’s what the judge decided: She could fly to New York once a month to get her hair fixed; she would receive $2,600 a month to eat out; and she would receive a liberal expense account for gasoline, oil, and maintenance of her $100,000 Mercedes. In addition, she was to receive, each month: $10,446 for vacations; $6,452 for clothing; $1,592 for groceries; $1,440 for local beauty parlors; $1,407 miscellaneous; $171 for pet care; and $20 for Church and charities. (“The Messenger,” Bacon Heights Baptist Church, Lubbock, Texas, 1991.) Is there something wrong with this picture? One hundred million dollars and she’s giving $20 a month to Church and charities? I believe Christ would say to her, “You fool!” Wealth is for sharing. Sure, there is satisfaction in the little luxuries of life, but not as much as being involved in something great and lasting. (http://frtonyshomilies.com/). L/19