Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 114 (NAB Translation)
This week’s first reading from the book of Ecclesiastes is part of the great wisdom literature of the Old Testament. The tone of this book is unusual because it presents what appears to be a negative and depressing view of life. When the author of the book states, “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” he is essentially saying that all the things we work for and worry about are pointless, that in the end all these things just don’t matter because we’re all going to die anyway. Why such a bleak message? The truth is that this is only half of the message. The point is NOT that we should give up on life, but rather that we need to keep our earthly pursuits in perspective, recognizing that in the end the only things that will matter are the ETERNAL things.
The response for this Psalm is: “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.”
This week’s reading from Saint Paul’s letter to the Colossians continues the theme of seeking eternal goods rather than the things of this world. From the Christian perspective, there are indeed things of this world (sin) that we are asked to put to death and bury because they are unworthy of our Christian calling. Pagans may focus on material things and embrace a philosophy of seeking only pleasure, but the those who have embraced Christ have a much higher calling. This is only possible when our eyes are fixed on heavenly and eternal things. We must redirect our gaze away from pleasure seeking and seek to live by Christ’s example, doing all things as an outpouring of love and desire to give glory to God.
In this week’s Gospel from St. Luke, we derive a message similar to what we saw in the first two readings. Here Jesus gives a stinging rebuke to a man who would use Jesus to settle a dispute over money. It is not that Jesus doesn’t care about this man’s problems, or even the potential lack of justice in the situation. Rather Jesus’ mission was not to settle material disputes, but to lead us to salvation. In no uncertain terms Jesus exhorts us to focus on eternal material things and to never get caught up in greed. Jesus concludes by telling the parable of the rich man who generated a lot of wealth. Unfortunately, the rich man sought his security in this wealth to the point where this became a practical problem–there just wasn’t sufficient storage space to keep so much grain. Thinking only in worldly terms, the man thinks he can solve his problem by building bigger storage barns. Not only has he forgotten God, to whom he must give an account for his life, but has also forgotten his fellow man whom he might have helped by giving the excess away to the needy. It is here that Jesus warns us that to become obsessed with material possessions to the exclusion of God is not only vain but also sinful.
Reflection question from Bishop Vásquez
Consumerism often leads us to have more earthly treasures than we need. In today’s Gospel, Jesus warns us against storing up too many earthly treasures because one’s life “does not consist of possessions.” Instead, he tells us to focus on being “rich in what matters to God.” What can we do daily to enrich our spiritual lives?
El consumismo con frecuencia nos lleva a tener más de los tesoros terrenales de los que necesitamos. En el Evangelio de hoy, Jesús nos advierte contra la acumulación de demasiados tesoros terrenales ya que la vida no “consiste de posesiones”. En su lugar, Él nos dice que nos enfoquemos en ser “ricos en lo que es importante para Dios” ¿Qué podemos hacer diariamente para enriquecer nuestras vidas espirituales?
Bishop Vásquez’ prayer request
May our local farmers and ranchers reap a bountiful harvest …
Por que nuestros granjeros y agricultores recojan una abundante cosecha…
Pope Francis’ prayer request for month of July
That indigenous peoples, whose identity and very existence are threatened, will be shown due respect …
That the Church in Latin America and the Caribbean, by means of her mission to the continent, may announce the Gospel with renewed vigor and enthusiasm …