Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Readings: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23; Psalms 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, & 17; Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12: 13-21
Today’s readings warn the reader of the fleeting, transient nature of this life. The first reading in Ecclesiastes speaks of vanity. That, “all things are vanity!” We usually think of this word in terms of a personal trait. But I think it has a much broader meaning. Today, in our country and our political discourse, we hear the words xenophobia and nationalism. Can’t they be thought of as offshoots of vanity; believing or thinking that mine or ours is more important than theirs? It’s a vulnerability of human nature to pit oneself against the “other.” To dig our heels in, believing that, in the here and now, we and our needs, wants and beliefs are of much greater importance than all the rest. Forgetting that this too shall pass.
The Psalm reading today offers comfort and direction when we get caught up in the moment and its importance. These words offer us the chance to return to “his voice.” Return implies having moved away from God. There are things in life that will pull us away from God, things that can occupy our hearts. As Paul advises in the second reading, “seek what is above…. think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” It is impossible to be of this world and not care about worldly things. We have to invest and commit to the here and now, but holding all things to their rightful size and not losing sight of our priorities is the challenge. We seek community in many ways, and, hopefully, as members of those communities we choose, we can and will help each other to return to “his voice” if we should lose our way.
Lastly, today’s Gospel speaks of the futility of being a person who stores up treasures for oneself on this earth and refers to such a person as a fool. Luke reminds us to stay “rich in what matters to God.” The world can be attractive, seductive, and enticing. Even Jesus faced temptation. These readings remind us of the shallowness of what is not of God, that all is for naught if not of God, for God and in God. As a community of believers, it is our divine calling to help each other remain attuned to His Voice in all things because all else will fall away.
Peggy Roach, Associate