Today’s scriptures present us with both sobering and uplifting thoughts. The ancient author Qoheleth reminds us of the transitory nature of all earthly realities. Jesus warns in the Gospel that earthly wealth does not guarantee life—least of all eternal life. These thoughts are sobering because they remind us of realities that are often obscured by comfort and complacency. That is not to say that success and wealth are bad things. In fact, there are scriptures which speak of them as blessings from God. In today’s Responsorial Psalm we pray: “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!” We should pray for success and for what we need to prosper—that we may use our gifts, talents and resources for good.
The problem comes when wealth or prosperity become ends in themselves. This is greed or avarice, one of the seven capital sins. It is against this that Jesus warns, when he says in today’s Gospel: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” The parable he tells illustrates this. The man in the parable is called foolish not because he is wealthy, but because he hoarded his wealth all for himself, as though it would solve all his problems. Since one’s eternal destiny lies with God and not with earth, with what treasure would the rich man stand before God? When we leave this world it is the value of our character—virtue—and not the value of our estate that we will take with us.
Saint Paul complements this teaching in today’s Second Reading, when he says: “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth… Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.” Because we have been raised to new life with Christ in baptism and purchased by his redemptive sacrifice, we must constantly seek to be renewed in the image of our Creator and reflect the new self we have become in Christ.
This weekend we welcome Father Victor Inbaraj, whom some may remember when he served at Holy Ghost Parish, to make an appeal on behalf of Our Lady of Fatima School in Adhichanur, India. Please welcome him and respond graciously to his message.
If all goes well I will get some oats cut and shocked this week for threshing. I hope God will bless us with a cool, sunny day with no breakdowns. The binder is a 1935 McCormick-Deering, ground driven, with a seven-foot cut. It ties well. I’ll let you know how it went when the job is done.
May God bless his people with peace.