Skip to main content

18th Sunday of Ordinary Time 2013

The Word for the 18thof Ordinary Time:
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Luke 12:13-21
 
Our first reading comes to us from Ecclesiastes (classified as one of the books ofwisdom)… a book ascribed to Qoheleth, who in the text describes himself as the son of David and King of Jerusalem. Now wait a minute… isn’t it Solomon who succeeds David to the throne? Of course it is… so why the pseudonym? It’s not a name, but a title, which means “collector” or “assembler.” In this case, an collector of saying ascribed to Solomon (who didn’t actually write the book). But back to the text…

“Vanity of vanities!” is how the book (and our reading) begins, and is the major theme that runs through this work. In short, the book wants us to answer the question… we toil all day long, both physically and mentally, and to what end? In other words, the author telling us that we need to re-evaluate our priorities. The worries of this life, the work of this life, the wealth of this life, are all vanity. All these worldly troubles are in fact, only temporary. We live our life here on earth but a short time, yet it is so easy to get caught up in our daily lives that we lose sight of the bigger picture – lose sight of God.

To help us put this first reading into perspective, we look to our Gospel. Here Jesus is being asked to arbitrate a dispute about an inheritance. Rather than getting directly involved, Jesus instead asks why he should he be the judge. Then he turns to the crowd, admonishes them about greed and possessions, and proceeds to tell them a parable. Better known as the Parable of the Rich Fool (unique to the Gospel of Luke), Jesus tell the story of a man who, after a bountiful harvest, looks to build a bigger barn in order to store his wealth and have a good life for years to come. But in his merriment, God chastises the man, telling him that “…this very night your life will be demanded of you;” (tonight you are going to die)… what then of all this stored up wealth? In other words, we can spend a lifetime building a fortune here on earth, but we are still “…not rich in what matters to God.”

This story, and it’s associated parable, are very challenging. Challenging to our cultural norms, and challenging to our desire for a quick answer. There is a lot to unpack from this gospel, too much, in fact, to go into here… so let’s look at just a couple key points. First, as our RCIA teaching guide suggests, is reflected in the 10th Commandment: You shall not covet your neighbors goods. Our daily lives are bombarded by advertising that would suggest our lives would be better if we only had [fill in the blank]. We must always be aware of that line that separates “need” from “desire.” Fulfilling one’s physical needs and the needs of one’s family is one thing, but to be desirous and covetous of physical possessions will not lead us to salvation. I think we can also find a lesson of this Gospel reflected in our second reading. In our continuing journey through Paul’s letter to the Colossians, Paul reminds us we need to “seek what is above.” He says “put to death the parts of you that are earthy.” Vanity of vanities! Never lose sight of the fact that our time on this earth is all to brief… don’t squander it on things that, in the end, can’t bring us to Heaven.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Post-Lent review... How did you do?

Lent is now behind us, yet in our excitement for Easter (and for Lent being over), how often to you take a moment to look back at your Lenten journey to do a post-game review?

As a volunteer leader and business school graduate, the concept of doing a formal "review" after an event or activity is a long held important practice... one that, unfortunately, tends to get overlooked even at the highest levels.  Still, it remains a staple of standard practice, and for good reason... It affords those involved, and the entire organization, a chance to review everything after the fact... what went well, what didn't, and lay the groundwork for next time.  The same is true for looking back at our Lenten journey.  So... how did you do?

I have to be honest, I sometimes fail to practice what I preach.  For as important as a post-lenten review might be, I hadn't thought of the idea until now.  I didn't even really think about it until this morning when I read the following artic…

5th Sunday of Easter

What happens when you have too much of a good thing?  When a business wins that lucrative new contract or expands into a new location?  Or taking that same idea a bit closer to home, what happens when two families merge through marriage, or when a family welcomes a new child?  We consider this kind of growth to be a good thing, but as with all things, these successes also come with their own baggage.  Our readings for this 5th Sunday of Easter have our Apostles facing similar challenges in the face of their growing successes.

The Word for the 5th Sunday of Easter Acts 6:1-7
Psalm 33:1-2, 4-5, 18-19
1 Peter 2:4-9
John 14:1-12

Our reading from Acts of the Apostles learning the hard way about the challenges that grow out of their continued success when their number of followers continues to grow.  Up to this point the Apostles have been doing their best to address the needs of the community, both spiritual and physical, but the community has grown so large now that they are becom…

3rd Sunday of Easter

Easter is about revelation!  On Easter Sunday we revealed that the tomb was found empty.  Last week Jesus revealed himself to the Apostles in the upper room, reminding us that “Blessed are those who have not seen, but still believe.”  This Third Sunday of Easter, Jesus is revealed through the breaking of the Bread.


The Word for the 3rd Sunday of Easter Acts 2:14, 22-33
Psalm 16:2, 5, 7-11
1 Peter 1:17-21
Luke 24:13-35

In our first reading from Acts of the Apostles we have Peter, discovering his voice and standing before all of Jerusalem giving witness about who Jesus was and what happened there.  It’s both a reminder to those present who also witnessed these events, and a much necessary explanation for those who (like us) were not there (especially Luke’s primarily Gentile audience).  The heart of Peter’s message reminds us that this messiah was killed by his own people, but through that act, as prophesied by their greatest king, David, has been raised by God, and sends his Ho…