THEME: VANITY OF VANITIES
READINGS: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23/ Colossians 3:1-5,9-11/ Luke 12:13-21
18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
Just imagine admiring a beautiful mansion: its unique architecture, high quality glass windows and doors, and a fascinating roof crowning it all. Then, all of a sudden the mansion crumbled down. In a shock and as you wonder about why the mansion collapsed, the great loss of the investments of money, materials and efforts run through your mind. Then, you soon get to know that the impressive building came down because of a weak or faulty foundation-substructure.
Our life is like a building; our achievements and possessions are the superstructure of pillars, windows, doors, roof, etc. Our faith, hope and love determine the strength of our foundation-substructure. If our faith is not in the Living God and our hope is in the false security of our riches and our love is selfish, then we have a weak foundation-substructure. Therefore, like the collapsed mansion we just imagined, all our achievements and possessions will come to nothing if we lack faith and obedience to God. The Book of Ecclesiastes puts it this way:
Vanity of vanities …
Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
Here is one who has laboured with wisdom and knowledge and skill,
and yet to another who has not laboured over it, he must leave property.
This also is vanity and a great misfortune (Eccl. 1:2; 2:21; first reading).
Similarly, in the gospel reading, Jesus calls our attention to the danger associated with building our lives on only our possessions: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions” (Luke 12:15). This message is ever more relevant in our age where materialism is prominent and the social status of a person is usually determined by his/her wealth. The prominence of materialism and the greed to acquire more wealth (sometimes, by foul or corrupt means) have been worsened in many African countries by the prosperity preaching of many pastors.
Contrary to the craze for material possessions and other earthly achievements, it is by anchoring our faith in the Living God, by hoping in the treasures of heaven, and by loving God and neighbour as Christ has taught us that we build a solid foundation-substructure. This is the kind of foundation-substructure that eternally sustains the beautiful superstructure of our achievements and possessions.
Therefore, brothers and sisters, let us seek first the heavenly kingdom (Matt. 6:33) where, according to St. Paul, “Christ is seated at the right hand of God.” Let us “think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” Then, when Christ our “life appears … [we] too will appear with Him in glory” (Col. 3:1-5; second reading). Amen!
By Very Rev. Fr. John Louis