Be “Rich In What Matters To God”

 
The readings for this Sunday warn us of the folly of placing our worship in material goods. In the end, it buys us nothing. We must keep our focus on God, for, “one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
 
Our first reading (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23) could have been the basis for Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carrol". One could imagine these words uttered by Jacob Marley himself. It is a dire warning that the riches we toil for in this life are left for others to enjoy.
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.
 
In our Epistle reading (Colossians 3:1-5; 9-11), St. Paul tells us what really matters to God and how we are to rightly order our lives. Paul instructs us to put aside earthly desires and “put on the new self.”
 
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.
 
Our Gospel reading (Luke 12:13-21) builds on the themes from our first two readings with the parable of the Rich Fool. First, Jesus refused to intervene in a property squabble among two brothers and then followed up with a parable to drive home the point—tonight may be your last. 
 
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.”
 
It is often said, "you can't take it with you", referring to power, prestige and possessions. But there is one thing that we can take with us beyond the grave, and that is grace. Grace is the gratuitous gift of Christ; it is the participation in the life of God (CCC 1997, 1999). We cannot earn grace but we can embrace it by following the advice of St. Paul in today's Epistle, by seeking what is above, where Christ is.
  • Click HERE to read, reflect, pray on the scripture readings for this Sunday

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