Put to death what is earthly
By REV. FR. SAMUEL FREDERICK
Eccl. 1:2.2:21-23, Col. 3:1-5.9-11, Lk. 12:13-21. On this Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C, the Church challenges us to see what our priorities are and take time to take stock of ourselves. Today's first reading draws our attention to the absurdities found in life. Life sometimes seems meaningless as people focus on their possessions and seek to get more. They spend all their times accumulating wealth and possessions, just to leave them behind to others when they die. If all there is to life is material things and amassing fortune which will not go along with us when we leave this mortal existence, then life is truly meaningless. People end up worrying themselves to death about what they have or what they do not have. Thus, today's second reading, Paul enjoins us to set our minds on things that are above, not on earthly things. This is an invitation to despise this world and be impervious to material problems to turn only to Heaven.
To understand this exhortation, we must go further in Pauls exhortation: "To put to death what is earthly.” This means that we must do away not with the reality of this world but the part of man which belongs to the earth: "immorality, impurity, inordinate passions, wicked desires and greed which is a way of worshipping idols." Then he resumes the same thought with another image: that of dress, as a Christian should be stripped of the old self and puts on the new. If we must put on the new self we will focus on what is fundamental in our Christian life, in our relationship with God: to get rich before God. That is, to fill our hands and heart with all kinds of supernatural and spiritual goods of grace and not of material possessions. In today’s Gospel, Jesus teaches us the virtue of contentment and avoid greed in the parable of the rich fool. The rich man in the parable believed his future was secure and that his good fortune was entirely due to his own merits. It must have come as a shock to learn that his life was God’s, to give and take away. Jesus opposes such self-seeking life and wants us to face the question: What are my hopes for the life hereafter? The other extreme we must avoid is seeing no value in working for a living and we console ourselves with such words as: “Why bother with work since life is so short and we can be fed at public expense?” That tendency existed among some in the early Church, who thought that the second coming of Christ was so near that work was superfluous. Paul, usually so concerned with spiritual growth, showed himself a pragmatist on this matter: “If anyone refuses to work, he should not eat.”
May the Lord help us to focus our attention on the Lord Jesus, who is our eternal inheritance! Good morning and happy Sunday!!!