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This Sunday we celebrate the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time. The Gospel for this Sunday begins with someone asking Jesus to “tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” Jesus balked at this idea and replied: “Friend who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?” Initially this response may seem harsh, but from the parable Jesus told next, it could be argued that Jesus was inviting the individual to approach the disputed inheritance in a different way. That parable is the story of a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest. “He asked himself, ‘What shall I do, for I do not have space to store my harvest?’ And he said, ‘This is what I shall do; I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones. There I shall store all my grain and other goods and I shall say to myself, ‘Now, as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!’ But God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you, and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’”
The problem with the man in this parable was not his wealth (he was already rich before his bountiful harvest); rather the problem was that his wealth was his sole source of security. He thought of nothing and no one else --- not even God. At times we too can make this same mistake when we look to things other than God to be our ultimate security.
Our first reading this Sunday is taken from the Book of Ecclesiastes. This weekend is the only time in our three year cycle of Sunday readings when we read from the Book of Ecclesiastes. This reading shares the theme of the Gospel reminding us that “All things are vanity!” While this message sounds distressing, it is meant to remind us that striving to amass material wealth is futile and pointless.
In our second reading this Sunday we continue to read from St. Paul’s Letter to the Colossians. In it Paul reminds us that because we have put on Christ, we are to “think of what is above, not of what is on earth.”
Questions for Reflection/Discussion:
1. Has there been a time when you have put your trust in something other than God?
2. My grandfather once said that when he was young he felt safe and secure when he had $200 in savings. When the depression came he had to look to something else to provide that sense of safety and security. He found this in the church. Has there been a time when what you thought would provide safety and security failed to do so?
3. I find it hard to keep focused on “what is above.” What helps you to keep focused on “what is above”?