Rich Man,
Image by John Mattos,
Graphic Computer Generated illustration,
Circa 2010
© John Mattos Illustration, all rights reserved

Rich Man,
Image by John Mattos,
Graphic Computer Generated illustration,
Circa 2010
© John Mattos Illustration, all rights reserved

Gospel of 21 October 2019

There was once a rich man

Luke 12: 13-21

A man in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’ ‘My friend,’ he replied, ‘who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.’

Then he told them a parable: ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.” But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?” So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.’

Reflection on the Graphic Illustration

Today’s parable is probably one of the most relevant for the times we live in, where most of us seem to be preoccupied with the idea of accumulating more and more worldly possessions, as if the quality and value of our lives depended on how many things we possess. The parable is prompting us to instead make ourselves rich in the sight of God…

Ok, well, sometimes when reading these parables, it is helpful to try and place ourselves within the times that the Gospels were written, as then it makes these parables even more poignant. Jesus' contemporaries lived in fairly harsh circumstances, under very hard political and social conditions. Famine was a constant threat for farmers, crops were not guaranteed, the soil wasn’t very fertile in general, suffering under excruciating taxation, etc… So when the landowner who stored his surplus crop gets mentioned in today’s parable, instead of him helping to feed and support the poorer people around him, it makes this story even more shocking and relevant. The parable is basically a stark warning against greed. Luke does take it a step further though and pushes this condemnation of greed into a higher question we should all ask ourselves: in what way do I make myself 'rich in the sight of God’?

Today’s artwork is by John Mattos, who is an illustrator based in New York and has done work for magazines such as Forbes, The New York Times, Newsweek, Time, etc… He won many accolades and prizes for his excellent graphic image works. The image shows a highly stylised image of a rich man, lavishly dressed smoking a cigar… a man probably highly ambitious in the world, but hopefully equally ambitious to love and humbly serve others as best he can…

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