The Poverty of Riches

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Brief Reflection on Luke 16:19-31

The 19th Sunday after Pentecost, Proper 21, Year C

 

“Them that has, gets.”  So the old expression goes… but what exactly do they get? And what does it cost them to get it? In this week’s gospel Jesus addresses the price of worldly wealth, its value, and the ultimate unintended consequences of riches. The “poor little rich girl” was a familiar figure in 19 Century popular literature. She had inherited everything but happiness. Her male counterpart was “Scrooge” whose name entered the language as the picture of grasping, hard-hearted wealth. Whether inherited or acquired, both paid a terrible price for riches. As the Beatles rock standard laments: “Money can’t buy me love.” And as the tabloids regularly attest: money can buy you boredom, addiction, despair and the cliché of beautiful lives broken by excess.

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