Sunday, August 05, 2007

"Bring out the riches held captive there"

St. Basil has a much more radical social justice "take" on the Parable of the rich fool.... Phew! Tell it like it is, will ya?

Saint Basil (about 330-379), monk and bishop of Caesarea in Cappadocia, doctor of the Church
Homily 31

Building new barns

'You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong? The behavior of the rich man in the Gospel is more derisory than eternal punishment is rigorous.

Indeed, what projects does this man, who is going to be taken away from this world so soon, mull over? “I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.” I would say to him gladly: you do well, because the barns of the injustice deserve only too much to be demolished.

By your own hands, destroy from top to bottom what you built dishonestly. Let collapse your reserves of wheat, from which nobody ever went away comforted. Demolish any building that harbors your miserliness; remove the roofs, bring down the walls, expose to the sun the wheat becoming mouldy, bring out of their prison the riches which were held captive there...

“I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.” And when you will have filled them up too, what will you decide? Will you demolish them in turn to rebuild still more? Is there any worse madness than plotting endlessly, forever building and destroying! If you want, you can have for barns, the houses of the needy. “Store up treasures in heaven”. What is stored there “neither moth nor decay destroys, nor thieves break in and steal.” (MT 6:20).

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