Homily — 18th Sunday Ordinary Time C August 5, 2007

Homily — 18th Sunday Ordinary Time C          August 5, 2007

Vanity of vanities, says Quoheleth . . . . all things in this life are vanity.

The Webster’s Dictionary definition of vanity is “something that is (worthless), empty or useless.”  All worldly riches, fame, power are worthless and of no real value in and of themselves.  Vanity of vanities.

The Gospel shows us two people that are chasing after vanities, two people that are trying to store up treasures for themselves, but are not rich in what matters to God.

The first person is the man who comes up to Jesus and says Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.

The man has obviously been unjustly treated by his own brother.  But Jesus isn’t pleased with this man’s prayer, and he even accuses the injured man of the sin of greed.

Jesus does this because the man’s prayer was all about the money and not about his relationship with his brother.  Had the man prayed “Lord, have mercy on me, I’m having a difficult time forgiving my brother.  Jesus, help my brother to follow you”  Jesus would have granted the man’s prayer, and maybe his brother would have come around to sharing the inheritance.

The second vain person we see in the Gospel has been doubly blessed in life.  Not only is he a rich man to begin with, his land that year produced a bountiful harvest on top of that.

But despite all the blessings he has, in his greed he thinks only of himself.

His goal in life isn’t to serve God, it’s to rest, eat, drink and be merry.

And it’s with this mind set that the man dies and his soul is judged.

And God’s eternal judgment on him is “You fool.  I blessed you throughout life with riches, and I blessed you this year with a bountiful harvest, not so that you could live in selfish extravagance, but so that you could be generous as I am generous.

“But now your life on earth is over, and you’ve done nothing with your riches that’s of lasting value.”

And so Jesus warns us take care to guard against all greed, lest we end up like that rich man in the parable.

You know, there was another rich man, who was rich not only in material goods but also in spiritual ones.  And one year he was blessed with a bountiful harvest, much more than he was used to, much more than he needed to live on.

But this man had throughout life tried to follow Jesus.  He tempered the resting, eating, drinking and merry making he did with hard work, prayer, fasting, and mourning over his past sins.   He had tried in the past to be generous in almsgiving.

And so, when suddenly faced with this bountiful harvest, the man said to himself “This is what I shall do with it.  Some of it I’ll use to provide for my family.  Some of it I’ll put in savings for when I’m old or in case a famine hits.  A little of it I will use to buy something nice for my family and myself, but not too much, because I don’t want to get spoiled.

“But the first thing I’m going to do, before the devil talks me out of it, is give a good amount of this bountiful harvest to charity: to the Church and to the poor.”

And God said to the rich man “My son, it so happens that this night Christ is scheduled to come for you.  I am glad to see that you’ve taken care to guard against all greed, and have rather been rich in what matters to GodWell done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord.”

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