Fish Eaters: The Whys and Hows of Traditional Catholicism


Matthew 13:9 "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."


The Rich Fool


Luke 12:16-34

And he spoke a similitude to them, saying: The land of a certain rich man brought forth plenty of fruits. And he thought within himself, saying: What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said: This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and will build greater; and into them will I gather all things that are grown to me, and my goods. And I will say to my soul: Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years take thy rest; eat, drink, make good cheer. But God said to him: Thou fool, this night do they require thy soul of thee: and whose shall those things be which thou hast provided?

So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich towards God. And he said to his disciples: Therefore I say to you, be not solicitous for your life, what you shall eat; nor for your body, what you shall put on. The life is more than the meat, and the body is more than the raiment. Consider the ravens, for they sow not, neither do they reap, neither have they storehouse nor barn, and God feedeth them. How much are you more valuable than they? And which of you, by taking thought, can add to his stature one cubit?

If then ye be not able to do so much as the least thing, why are you solicitous for the rest? Consider the lilies, how they grow: they labour not, neither do they spin. But I say to you, not even Solomon in all his glory was clothed like one of these. Now if God clothe in this manner the grass that is today in the field, and tomorrow is cast into the oven; how much more you, O ye of little faith? And seek not you what you shall eat, or what you shall drink: and be not lifted up on high. For all these things do the nations of the world seek. But your Father knoweth that you have need of these things.

But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his justice, and all these things shall be added unto you.


Commentary
from the Catholic Encyclopedia

The rich fool and Dives and Lazarus raise the question whether we should interpret them as true histories or as instructive fictions. Both are directed against the chief enemy of the Gospel, riches loved and sought after. The rich fool ("Nabal", as in I Kings 25) was uttered on occasion of a dispute concerning property and Christ answers "Man, who hath appointed me judge, or divider, over you?" Not injustice, but covetousness, "the root of all evil", is here reprehended. Read St. Cyprian, "De opere et eleemosyna", 13.

The story of Lazarus, which completes this lesson by contrast, appears to have no concealed meaning and would therefore not fulfil the definition of a parable. Catholics, with Irenaeus, Ambrose, Augustine, and the church liturgy, regard it as a narrative. The modern school rejects this view, allows that our Lord may have spoken the first half of the recital (Luke 16:19-26) but considers the rest to be an allegory which condemns the Jews for not accepting the witness of Moses and the Prophets to Jesus as the Messias. In any case our Lord's resurrection furnishes an implied reference. "Abraham's bosom" for the middle state after death is adopted by the Fathers generally; it receives illustration from IV Mach. 13:17. St. Augustine (De Gen. ad Litt., viii, 7) doubts whether we can take literally the description of the other world.

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