It was not a capitalist society of consumers in the same way as we are today. The parable is about a rich man who focuses his life on acquiring more and more for himself while ignoring the Reign of God and the needs of others.
That man in the parable has ignored what is important to God and not focused on the Reign of God, but focused only on himself and on acquiring more and more possessions.
The second reading also warns against greed and calls for us to focus on Christ and the Reign of God. Whereas the first reading cries out that all of life is suffering and empty, and is written through the eyes of someone who lives as if God didn’t matter and they were not cared for or loved by God, they had lost all hope!
But Jesus has called us to live with God at the center of our lives. And so the meaning in our lives is found in God and not in the possessions we accumulate.
Often we hear of people whose lives are burdensome under the weight of their possessions, as if they are “owned by what they own”. Our consumeristic society tells us that we need to consume; it tells us we need to buy more and more “stuff” and in and through having more “stuff” we will find happiness.
But we all know the truth—happiness is not found in “stuff” but rather through a loving relationship with God and loving one another as Jesus loves us.
Academic study after study has shown that the accumulation of wealth does not make people happier. On the other hand, it is glaringly clear that poverty causes great human suffering.
And this is ultimately Jesus’ point about the man in today’s Gospel—instead of thinking of God (who commanded that the poor be cared for), instead of thinking of his neighbors and those who labored in his fields, he thought only of himself and amassing great wealth for himself, that he might eat, drink and be merry. And ultimately it meant nothing as he did not live to use his wealth.
I think these readings call us to ask ourselves a few questions; do my possessions ever get in the way of my relationship with God or my relationships with others and my ability to care for the poor and those in need? How do I keep God at the center of my life each day, and throughout the day? What is the difference in my life between what I want and what I really need?