18th Sunday Ordinary Time C
Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23; Ps 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21
(Scriptures included after homily)
It’s funny how throughout our lives ‘they’ve’ told us that smoking is not good for us. Then they made the direct link between smoking and cancer. And we’ve all known enough people who have had cancer, if we haven’t had it ourselves, to know that it causes suffering, and pain, and even death.
But if we really like smoking, then the cost, the restrictions to where it’s permitted, the suffering, and even death will not deter us from continuing to smoke, besides the fact that it is chemically addicting and very difficult to quit. And “so they’ve said.”
And then there’s: eating too much sweet stuff and driving too fast, watching nasty movies and TV and not exercising, there’s picking on our brothers and sisters, and on, and on, and on.
In fact, “they’ve” told us so many things that are NOT good for us, that we eventually get to the point of wondering if anything “they” say is true any more. And in the end “What’s it really matter?” Because in the end, we’re all going to die anyway!
And so we say, “It’s MY life, and I can do what I want with it.”
You see, the writer of our first reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes ‘nailed it’ when he said, “Vanity of Vanities,” all of life is pointless! And at that point, we might add, that he was absolutely correct – FOR those people who live their lives in the absence of God.
But then there’s that totally opposite philosophy of life that goes: If I exercise and I don’t smoke, and I eat all the right foods, and I work real hard so that I can get promoted to make more and more money, and I save and I save, then someday I can sit back and grow old in peace and happiness; and (then) help the Church and the poor, and believe in God, and volunteer my time, and live to 100 . . .
After I’m rich!
And some of us might respond to these guys with that same quote from Ecclesiastes – “Vanity of Vanities.” Because we’ve been through the realities of life: the doors slammed in our faces, the failed businesses, the college tuitions and medical bills and the broken down cars.
And we know that there’s just as much of a problem with the “Goody Two-Shoes,
Hoard it” philosophy as there is with the “Live it up” one.
So what’s the answer?
Well, IF we believe, that all there is to Life is the time between when we were born and when we die. If we believe that all there is to life is what we can see. And that each of us has “total control” over how that life is lived, then, we can take either one of those two life-mapping scenarios: the “Live it up” or the “Hoard it” viewpoints, and it shouldn’t matter to anyone.
EXCEPT! Except, in just a few moments, we’re all going to say something that totally negates that possibility – or else we’re lying.
We’re going to say: “I believe in all things visible and invisible!”
And that implies two things: First, that life begins before we ever take that first breath, before anyone ever sees us. And second, that it continues long after we take our last breath!
And if that’s the case, then, not only is the time between when we are born and when we die pretty short, even if it’s 100 years, but it’s also, just another preparation for something in Life that’s much, much greater!
JUST ANOTHER PREPARATION
As the fetus prepares us to be newborns and the newborns change to toddlers,
as the toddlers move to teens and the teenager to the adult,
so is mortal death to immortal life.
And if any one of those stages or transitions in our lives is messed up,
it messes up the next one as well.
And thus, we have parents to guide and lead us.
We have teachers to train us, doctors to heal us.
And we have our Clergy and Church to introduce us
to the most important Person in our lives,
GOD – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
In that process of growth, from embryo to death, something happens in our lives that also negates that philosophy of ‘our total control,’ and that our lives and our decisions don’t matter to anyone else.
For you see, in the training, in the guidance, in the friendships developed throughout our lives, a network is created that globally links us to every other person in the world.
So if we lie, the consequence of that lie, might just as well affect Chu living in Taiwan, who we don’t even know, as the one whom we lied to. If we smoke, or drive too fast, or curse, or watch nasty TV, or even hoard our money or our talents greedily, we are affecting the lives of a whole network of other people.
And that just may put – what we do in these lives – in an entirely different perspective.
A simple example of this principle is called “Sympathetic Resonance,” which we can demonstrate on our own Baby Grand. To start with, each note on the piano has a dampener, which prevents Sympathetic Resonance from happening. It’s what makes each note sharp and clear.
But if we release the dampener on one note or chord, and then strike another note or chord, that second note will cause the first one to vibrate as well, without ever touching the first one. This is called Sympathetic Resonance, and it’s just like our lives.
Here’s an example demo:
Then, if we make noise, it will be noise that will vibrate and resonate
throughout the world.
But if we make Music, with every little thought, and word, and act we do,
then it will be like a symphony resounding everywhere.
And God loves beautiful music.
God love us!
You see, Jesus didn’t say that it’s bad to have money or to prepare for the future. But He did stress the importance of sharing all of the gifts God gives us: our money, our time, and our talents, with others.
And this is not meant to sound like some form of Catholic guilt trip. And it’s not some unsolicited sales gimmick either, like we constantly get on the phone. Jesus truly wants all of us to be the very best US we can be now, so that our eternal lives with Him will be the best they can be, as well. NOW is the time for our spiritual preparation. And God – is our parent, and teacher, and doctor, and guide.
And then, beyond all of what may seem to be Catholic brow beating, we, as Catholic Christians, need to know that we are doing a pretty awesome job of it all: From the millions who went to Brazil to see Pope Francis and renew their faith, to the St. Vincent de Paul volunteers in our own parish, feeding the poor with our time and our treasure. From our Youth Group going to Steubenville with our support, to the Knights of Columbus and the Women of Lourdes . . .
We ARE making a difference in the world.
And now it’s time for all of us to get pretty excited too.
To get “Rich in what matters to God.”
And to get that beautiful music of Jesus resonating throughout the world,
by what we’ve done.
For we ARE His Body and
He IS our Hope.
Scripture Readings for the Mass of 08-04-13
Eighteenth Sunday Ordinary Time C
First Reading: Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23
Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!
Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and yet to another who has not labored over it, he must leave property. This also is vanity and a great misfortune. For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun? All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest. This also is vanity.
Responsorial Psalm: Ps 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You turn man back to dust, saying, “Return, O children of men.” For a thousand years
in your sight are as yesterday, now that it is past, or as a watch of the night.
You make an end of them in their sleep; the next morning they are like the changing grass, Which at dawn springs up anew, but by evening wilts and fades.
Teach us to number our days aright, that we may gain wisdom of heart. Return,
O LORD! How long? Have pity on your servants!
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness, that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days. And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours; prosper the work of our hands for us! Prosper the work of our hands!
Second Reading: Col 3:1-5, 9-11
Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.
Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free; but Christ is all and in all.
Gospel: Lk 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” He replied to him, “Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Then he said to the crowd, “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable. “There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do: I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”