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Sunday, August 4, 2019

A Homily - 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)


First Reading – Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23 ©
Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 89(90):3-6, 12-14,17 ©
Second Reading – Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 ©
Gospel Acclamation – John 17:17
Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 5:3
The Gospel According to Luke 12:13 - 21 ©


(NJB)


Listen to the prophet.

Such is the nature of life, we live and we die, we leave everything behind, within a generation or two we will be all but forgotten, reduced to a name etched in stone, on a metal plate, some papers somewhere or a digital image drifting in cyberspace.

In time it will all be undone, and we become nothing to the world, even as the Earth itself is swallowed by the sun, waiting for the galaxy to collapse in on itself

To the extent that our ambitions are set against this, they are as the prophet said, mere vanities.

Nevertheless we continue.

Consider what the psalmist says:

It is wise to remember; to always bear in mind that God does not act to change the course of our lives.

God is with us, yes, God is with us.

God has created in us, has placed in each of us a constitutive element of our being; the desire and longing for God’s own self

This is true.

This pull on us. It draws us to God, but God does not interject God’s self in our lives, does not interfere with our choices, does not intervene in the consequences of those choices; God neither works for us or against us in relation to our individual ambitions, or the many vanities that occupy our hearts desire.

When God is our refuge it is because we made God so.

God is the eternal, the creator of all that is, and we are but motes of dust in the face of the infinite.

Remember this!

We are; each of us individually and together, taken as a whole, infinitely less than the infinite God.

Be mindful

God is never angry with us. We do not suffer because God desires to see us suffer, we do not sorrow because it please God to see us sorrowful.

God created us with these capacities because they teach us something about the value of joy, and to foster in us a want for peace.

When we suffer and when we are sorrowful, we cause others to suffer we bring them sorrow, when we rejoice and are glad the same is true and God is with us through it all, feeling what we feel, knowing what we know, going through our experience even as we do.

Be mindful of the things which the Apostle struggled with, be mindful especially of the desire for perfection. Though God has called us all to perfection and though God has given us the example of Jesus to follow, to show us the way, both your continuing and future failures are known to the divine and like all of your past failures they will be forgiven.

Forgive yourself, and forgive all of those whom you have harmed. Firgive those who have harmed you.

In the end all be revealed just as the Apostle promised, and all of your pretenses toward perfection will be revealed for the vanities that they are.

D not shun the prophet when the prophet says: give up your earthly desires, these desires are the root of all suffering.

Be mindful when the Apostle preaches; that your greed and lust for material things are akin to the worship of false idols.

Remember this!

In God there is no distinction between nationality, ethnicity or class, we are all one creation.

Listen!

Tell the truth, you cannot lie and serve God at one and the same time.

Be mindful, our experience of life is one in which we must navigate countless paradoxes, they are like rapids in the stream: the downtrodden are blessed, take joy is the smile of a stranger, the kindness of your beloved, the opening of a flower, the smell of bread in the oven a drink of cool water, and share it, when you do you will be in the way.

The Gospel reading for today commends us to contemplate these threethings:

The first thing is mindfulness; know who it is to whom you are speaking. Do not ask you God to arbitrate a matter of inheritance or any like thing.

Jesus did not come to settle disputes over the distribution of a family fortune.

The second thing is mindfulness: know that life is uncertain, it is ephemeral, our bodies are subject to the vicissitudes of randomness. At any moment the expected life of a human could be expressed in years, or in seconds.

The truth is that we do not know. We can never know.

Therefore, it is pointless to hoard wealth in preparation for the fantasy of a long life, or for a life of leisure as a reward for years of labor, to think anything else is sheer vanity..

The third thing is mindfulness; know the end to which God, the creator of the universe, to which God would have us direct our strength and resources.

God would have them directed toward the benefit of all people, God would not have us hold them in reserve to serve the appetites of single person or their family.

You cannot take it with you.

Share it while you have it, you will be on the way to joy.


First Reading – Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23 ©

Vanity of Vanities; All is Vanity

Vanity of vanities, the Preacher says. Vanity of vanities. All is vanity!

For so it is that a man who has laboured wisely, skilfully and successfully must leave what is his own to someone who has not toiled for it at all. This, too, is vanity and great injustice; for what does he gain for all the toil and strain that he has undergone under the sun? What of all his laborious days, his cares of office, his restless nights? This, too, is vanity.


Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 89(90):3-6, 12-14,17 ©

O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.

You turn men back to dust
  and say: ‘Go back, sons of men.’
To your eyes a thousand years
  are like yesterday, come and gone,
  no more than a watch in the night.

O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.

You sweep men away like a dream,
  like the grass which springs up in the morning.
In the morning it springs up and flowers:
  by evening it withers and fades.

O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.

Make us know the shortness of our life
  that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Lord, relent! Is your anger for ever?
  Show pity to your servants.

O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.

In the morning, fill us with your love;
  we shall exult and rejoice all our days.
Let the favour of the Lord be upon us:
  give success to the work of our hands.

O Lord, you have been our refuge from one generation to the next.


Second Reading – Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 ©

You Must Look for the Things that Are in Heaven, Where Christ Is

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ, you must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is, sitting at God’s right hand. Let your thoughts be on heavenly things, not on the things that are on the earth, because you have died, and now the life you have is hidden with Christ in God. But when Christ is revealed – and he is your life – you too will be revealed in all your glory with him.

That is why you must kill everything in you that belongs only to earthly life: fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires and especially greed, which is the same thing as worshipping a false god; and never tell each other lies. You have stripped off your old behaviour with your old self, and you have put on a new self which will progress towards true knowledge the more it is renewed in the image of its creator; and in that image there is no room for distinction between Greek and Jew, between the circumcised or the uncircumcised, or between barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man. There is only Christ: he is everything and he is in everything.


Gospel Acclamation – John 17:17

Alleluia, alleluia!

Your word is truth, O Lord:
consecrate us in the truth.

Alleluia!


Alternative Acclamation – Matthew 5:3

Alleluia, alleluia!

How happy are the poor in spirit:
theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Alleluia!


The Gospel According to Luke 12:13 - 21 ©

Fool! This Very Night your Soul Will be Demanded of You

A man in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’ ‘My friend,’ he replied, ‘who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns, even when he has more than he needs.’
  
Then he told them a parable: ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.” But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?.” So it is when a man stores up treasure for himself in place of making himself rich in the sight of God.’


18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)

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