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8th Sunday after Pentecost - July 31, 2022

May the words of my mouth and the meditations of each heart be pleasing to you, O God, my strength and my Redeemer. +

In today’s Gospel reading according to Luke, we heard about a crowd of people who were following Jesus and listening to his teachings when someone came forth and interrupted everything in order to ask Jesus to mediate between him and his brother so that the brother would divide an inheritance into equal shares.

But Jesus turned to the crowd and said to them, (15) “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”

We also heard Jesus tell the parable of the “land of the rich man” which “produced abundantly”. So abundantly, in fact, that the rich man had nowhere to store his abundance of crops, so he decided he would tear down his barns, build bigger ones, store his grain and his goods, and then relax, eat, drink and be merry for many years to come.

(NRSV, v.20) But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you’…”

If you have gone to church much at all in your life, chances are you have heard these passages and this parable before. Perhaps many times before. That’s okay. Please hang with me anyway. Because you know how it is when you re-read a favorite, treasured book and something new pops out at you? How you see a little different nuance because of what is happening in your own life or the world at the time? I pray that will happen for some of us today as we look again at these passages of Scripture.

But first a few background notes.

“According to Judaic inheritance practices, an older brother would receive two-thirds of an estate while the younger would receive one-third.” (FOW, pg. 311) Therefore, the Gospel reading appears to be a younger brother asking Jesus to make his brother divide the inheritance 50-50.

As for the parable, notice that it is about “the land of a rich man.” This is no small farmer, but one who controls much of the agricu