Who is richer – Oliver "Daddy" Warbucks or Thurston Howell III? Jed Clampett or Cruella De Vil? Jay Gatsby, Charles Montgomery Burns, or Willy Wonka?
It just so happens, you can find out!
Forbes, the bi-weekly American business magazine, for over a decade has come out with their "Fictional 15." They calculate the net worth of and rank the 15 richest fictional people. Forbes considers characters from movies, television, literature, comics, and even video games. They can tell you, for instance, that Tony (Ironman) Stark's net worth of $8.5 billion tops the $6.3 billion net worth of Bruce (Batman) Wayne.
When the list first came out, topping the list of the richest fictional characters was the right jolly old elf himself – Santa Claus. Forbes recorded his net worth as "infinite" since he is acclaimed to be able to give and give all over the world without limit.
Santa Claus, however, was suddenly removed from the list after 2006. A spokesperson from Forbes explained, "We still estimate Claus's net worth as infinite, but we excluded him from this year's rankings after being bombarded by letters from outraged children insisting that Claus is real."
So, there. The people on the "Fictional 15" list have to be decidedly not real. Even the mighty Forbes didn’t want to mess with Santa.
Although the people on the list are fictional, it’s easy to be tempted sometimes to wish that we, like Scrooge McDuck, had an endless pile of money to dive into and swim in. Thanks be to God for Christmas to remind us that there is something even better. I believe that as you reflect on this holy season, and worship and gather with family and friends, you will be reminded that each of us has offered to us precious gifts that all the money in the world could never buy.
I am very rich priest – so grateful to offer, without charge, the gifts of the sacraments. Jesus came to us as an infant, poor and lowly, in a manger. Our Lord continues to empty Himself and in poverty, simplicity, and humility to come to be with us. To know that gift means never to want. It is the fullness of life and happiness.
That's my prayer for all of you. Have your richest Christmas yet – and it will lead to infinite blessedness.