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Don’t Be a Fool!

Friday April 1 is April Fools day, which is celebrated in many countries around the world, although this custom is not an “official” holiday in any country. The way the practice started, what it is called and how it is celebrated changes from country to country but the basis is the same. It’s a day for practical jokes and fun.

One of the most famous April Fool’s jokes occurred in 1957 when the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) aired a newscast about the “Spaghetti-tree harvest” on a family farm in Switzerland. The broadcast shows Swiss farmers picking ripe spaghetti, and diners enjoying a meal of freshly harvested spaghetti right from the spaghetti tree.

Since spaghetti was a relatively unknown food in the United Kingdom at that time, there were hundreds of viewers who thought the spaghetti trees were real and called the network to get more information on how to plant and cultivate this exotic delicacy.

While we may think this is foolish and can’t believe people fell for the joke, it shows that the practice of April Fool jokes can be controversial. While celebrating April Fools encourages fun and laughter, jokes can also be misunderstood and then the fun stops, especially if it is done in a mean spirited way.

Proverbs 20:3 tell us “A person gains honor by avoiding strife, while every fool starts a quarrel.” So if you are planning an April Fools prank, think long and hard about how the recipient will react. You can be funny while still being nice.

Here are some other Bible verses that remind us of foolish actions that we will want to avoid on April 1st (and every other day).
Sirach 21:14 reads “A fool’s mind is like a broken jar: it cannot hold any knowledge at all.” Compass Catholic Ministries teaches Biblical financial principles which is an oxymoron for many people. They think that the Bible has nothing to do with their finances and the very idea of integrating faith and finances is foolish in their opinion.

But even more foolish is ignoring the messages of God clearly found in the Bible. Matthew 7:24-27 reads “Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock. And everyone who listens to these words of mine but does not act on them will be like a fool who built his house on sand. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. And it collapsed and was completely ruined.”

We would never choose to build a house on sand or any foundation that is not stable. It’s just asking for trouble because you know the foundation is going to fail and when the foundation fails, the house falls down. Using the Bible as a source of wisdom for our finances means building our financial foundation on solid rock.

As Catholics, we need to be building our foundation on Jesus Christ in all areas of our life, including our finances and how we manage our money and possessions. The foundation of Jesus Christ is the only thing that really matters.

Proverbs 1:7 tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and discipline.” Unlike fools who hate wisdom and instruction–we should value knowledge of the Lord by spending time reading the Bible to learn God’s way of managing our finances—saving, giving, spending and earning with a godly perspective.

The story of the Rich Fool found in Luke 12:16-21 is the epitome of how NOT to manage money and possessions God’s way:

”There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ’What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’”

There are several lessons to be learned from this story:

The rich fool decided to tear down his barns and build new larger ones–why didn’t he think of simply adding one more barn to his holdings? Why did he think it was necessary to tear down perfectly good barns to build bigger ones?

The rich fool stored up ALL his grain and other goods–why didn’t he consider donating some of his possessions to the poor or his neighbors or family or offer it for the needs of the temple? He was being selfish in not thinking of others and not balancing his bounty with generosity.

His attitude about his savings was to “Rest, eat, drink and be merry.” His whole focus was on his worldly needs, his own comfort and enjoyment–how was he attending to his spiritual needs?

He did not realize how short his time on earth was (“this night your life will be demanded form you”).

So many times we live the same way the rich fool did. We think bigger is better; we don’t balance our bounty with generosity; we put our enjoyment and comfort first and we have no concept of how fast our live goes by.

Nothing in this world is more important than our spiritual journey. No amount of money, or fancy cars or large houses or fulfilling every physical need can replace a life grounded in the love of God and that means being a good steward of all the blessings he has given us.

Don’t be a fool!

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