The Parable of the Poor Old Man

 ◊  Saint Hilary of Poitiers, pray for us

You may remember the story about the rich young man who asked Jesus what he needed to do to obtain eternal life. This is a parable about the poor old man.

There was poor old man who approached a young man. The young man was an athlete, strong and skilled in sport. The old man asked the athlete, “Please come with me and my friends for the weekend. We will talk and eat and laugh, and seek the path to great wealth.” The athlete said, “No, I have to practice.”

The poor old man approached another young man. This young man was a scholar and academic. The old man asked the scholar, “Please come with me and my friends for the weekend. We will talk and eat and laugh, and seek the path to great wealth.” The scholar said, “No, I have to study.”

The poor old man approached a third young man. This young man was popular and well-liked among the people of his village. The old man asked the popular young man, “Please come with me and my friends for the weekend. We will talk and eat and laugh, and seek the path to great wealth.” The popular young man said, “No, I am afraid of what other people might think of me.”

The poor old man approached a fourth young man. The old man asked, “Please come with me and my friends for the weekend. We will talk and eat and laugh, and seek the path to great wealth.” The fourth young gave no excuse and simply said, “No.”

And then the time came, and the poor old man and his friends went away for the weekend. They talked and told stories, ate and laughed much, and the path to great wealth found them.

Now Jesus did not often explain his parables, but I will.

The great wealth does not represent money and expensive things. It represents joy, happiness, purpose and meaning. All things our hearts long for.

The path represents Jesus, “The way, the truth, and the life.”

The poor old man represents the humility of God acting through people. For most people, God will not speak directly to us like Abraham, Moses, or the prophets. God most often comes to us through the people in our lives. God invites us. And if you follow, you will find what you seek.