St. Basil and the rich man

Today the Church remembers St. Basil the Great, a doctor of the church who defended the divinity of Christ. He sought the truth about Christ and was not the liar, who denies that Jesus is the Christ,  as we read in today’s first reading, 1 John 2: 22.

Basil was a monk, bishop, theologian, doctor of the church, founder of schools and a hospital. But he was one who pointed to Christ, as John the Baptist did, and called for a just society.

Not afraid to challenge the rich, in his sermon on the rich man (Matthew 19:16-22), he addresses the man (and all the rich) in this way:

Now, you are obviously very far from having observed one commandment at least, and you falsely swore that you had kept it, namely, that you’ve loved your neighbor as yourself. For see: the Lord’s commandment proves you to be utterly lacking in real love. For if what you’ve claimed were true, that you have kept from your youth the commandment of love, and have given to each person as much as to yourself, how has it come to you, this abundance of money? For it takes wealth to care for the needy: a little paid out for the necessity of each person you take on, and all at once everything gets parceled out, and is spent upon them. Thus, the man who loves his neighbor as himself will have acquired no more than what his neighbor has; whereas you, visibly, have acquired a lot.

This is a challenge to the rich and to most of us on the internet who have more than most of the world.

Will we listen to the word of the Lord, calling us to love and to share? Will this year be a year of sharing with the poor? Or will we continue to try to hold on to all we have?

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