What are true riches?

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The WORD in other words (2021) by Fr. Jhonatan A. Letada, SVD (SVD-PHC Provincialate, Tayuman, Manila)

Wednesday 20th Week in Ordinary Time

This parable teaches us not only to be generous like the landowner but also leads us to the core of generosity, which is goodness. We are generous because we are good. And this goodness makes us rich and even richer in the world.

Someone asked the richest man in the world, Bill Gates, with this question: “Is there any person richer than you?” Bill Gates replied, “Yes, there is a person who is richer than me.” He then narrated this story.

“It was during the time when I wasn’t rich and famous. I was at New York Airport when I saw a newspaper vendor. I wanted to buy one newspaper but found that I didn’t have enough change. So I left the idea of buying and returned it to the vendor. I told him of not having the change. The vendor said, ‘I am giving you this for free.’ On his insistence I took the newspaper.

Coincidentally, after two to three months, I landed at the same airport, and again I was short of change for a newspaper. The vendor offered me the newspaper again. I refused and said that I can’t take it for I don’t have change today too. He said, ‘You can take it. I am sharing this from my profit. I won’t be at loss.’ I took the newspaper.

After 19 years, I became famous and known by people. Suddenly I remembered that vendor. I began searching for him, and after about one and a half months of searching, I found him. I asked him, ‘Do you know me?’ He said, ‘Yes, you are Bill Gates.’ I asked him again, ‘Do you remember once you gave me a newspaper for free?’ The vendor said, ‘Yes, I remember. I gave you twice.’ I said, ‘I want to repay you the help you had offered me that time. Whatever you want in your life, tell me, I shall fulfill it.’

The vendor said, ‘Sir, don’t you think that by doing so you won’t be able to match my help.’ I asked, ‘Why?’ He said, ‘I had helped you when I was a poor newspaper vendor, and you are trying to help me now when you become the richest man in the world. How can your help match mine?’

That day I realized that the newspaper vendor is richer than I am because he didn’t wait to become rich to help someone. People need to understand that the truly rich people are those who possess a rich heart rather than lots of money.” (Facebook Newsfeed)

There is no need to be rich for us to be generous. It is our goodness deep within that makes us generous. Only goodness can conquer greed.  Only generosity can conquer entitlement. Goodness empowers us to give more and to be more generous in our giving. 

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