Twenty-Second Sunday After Pentecost

Luke 12:16-21


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16  And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully;

17  and he thought to himself, 'What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?'

18  And he said, 'I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods.

19  And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.'

20  But God said to him, 'Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?'

21  So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."

16 Εἶπε δὲ παραβολὴν πρὸς αὐτοὺς λέγων· ἀνθρώπου τινὸς πλουσίου εὐφόρησεν ἡ χώρα· 17 καὶ διελογίζετο ἐν ἑαυτῷ λέγων· τί ποιήσω, ὅτι οὐκ ἔχω ποῦ συνάξω τοὺς καρπούς μου; 18 καὶ εἶπε· τοῦτο ποιήσω· καθελῶ μου τὰς ἀποθήκας καὶ μείζονας οἰκοδομήσω, καὶ συνάξω ἐκεῖ πάντα τὰ γενήματά μου καὶ τὰ ἀγαθά μου, 19 καὶ ἐρῶ τῇ ψυχῇ μου· ψυχή, ἔχεις πολλὰ ἀγαθὰ κείμενα εἰς ἔτη πολλά· ἀναπαύου, φάγε, πίε, εὐφραίνου. 20 εἶπε δὲ αὐτῷ ὁ Θεός· ἄφρον, ταύτῃ τῇ νυκτὶ τὴν ψυχήν σου ἀπαιτοῦσιν ἀπὸ σοῦ· ἃ δὲ ἡτοίμασας τίνι ἔσται; 21 οὕτως ὁ θησαυρίζων ἑαυτῷ, καὶ μὴ εἰς Θεὸν πλουτῶν.

Larger Thought Unit

Today’s pericope is in the middle of a large section (12:1-13:9) which deals with a myriad of issues facing the Christian faithful:  public profession of faith, persecution, greed, possessions, faith, preparedness versus laziness, repentance and judgment.  We are at the very center of the textual gospel where the call is “sell what you have and give alms; provide for yourselves money bags which do not grow old, a treasure in the heavens that does not fail…for where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”



The rich man, again the Jew, is behaving as though he were the Lord himself. Indeed, in Luke, the only one who will store up (συνάξω) the fruits and grain is the coming Lord on the day of judgment (His winnowing fork is in his hand, to clear his threshing floor, and to gather the wheat [συνάξει τὸν σῖτον] into his granary, but the chaff he will burn with unquenchable fire; Lk 3:17). The true disciple is asked to gather together with the Lord and not on his own (He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather [συνάγων] with me scatters; 11:23). The sin of the rich man lies in that he decides to gather his wealth ahead of the appointed time, just as the prodigal son does (and the younger of them said to his father, 'Father, give me the share of property that falls to me.' And he divided his living between them. Not many days later, the younger son gathered [συναγαγὼν] all he had; 15:12-13). In doing so the Jew becomes as foolish (ἄφρον) as the Gentiles (ἀφρόνων) whose corrector and teacher he is supposed to be (Rom 2:20). In laying up treasure (θησαυρίζων) for himself, he is actually “storing up (θησαυρίζεις) wrath for himself on the day of wrath when God's righteous judgment will be revealed” (Rom 2:5).


Further resource

Charles H. Talbert, Reading Luke, Smith & Helwys Publishing, Macon, GA, 2002;  pp. 155ff.

Paul Nadim Tarazi, New Testament Introduction, Vol.2: Luke and Acts, St Vladimir’s Seminary Press, Crestwood, NY, 2001; pp.103-104.


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