18th SUNDAY C – The Meaning of Life
I have yet to see a hearse that has a towing bar attached. The message today is that when the end comes we can’t take our possessions and achievements with us. The Word of God today is designed to shake us out of our dreamy, rose-coloured illusions about life. Ecclesiastes is a gloomy read: “Vanity of vanities. All is vanity.” And the gospel message is no joke either: “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul.”
The rich farmer in the gospel story isn’t a bad person. He thinks and acts like many. “Wow, I’ve done real well for myself. I think I’ll get a bigger house, a bigger car, an ocean-going yacht, a nice jet, invest and make some real money…” He sounds very normal, but God calls him a fool. Maybe he didn’t know that ‘All is vanity.’ In Luke’s gospel riches are looked upon with suspicion. As the story unfolds we discover the man’s true spirit: he is greedy and isolated from others.
Luke’s point here is that we Christians have to share what we have and live in trust that God will provide us with what is really important – a deep and meaningful life, daily bread and more. Scripture tells us that we were not created as rugged individuals who are totally independent of each other – and God. We were created and meant to connect with each other. The rich fool was aware only of himself; greed blinded him to the hordes of poor around him. His vast possessions dehumanised him.
There’s a story of a holy man who sat and prayed by an oak tree on the roadside. A business man came to him in a worried state of mind and asked his blessing. The holy man opened his sack and offered him a large diamond as big as a golf ball. The man took off full of excitement and with plans to get really rich. That night he couldn’t sleep and heard a voice telling him to go back to the holy man. Next day he went and, handing back the diamond, said “Please, can I have the gift that allowed you to give away this stone.” That gift is the Holy Spirit – the breathing of God within us – the heavenly father is ready to give to those who ask – Lk 11: 13.
Fr. QQ – 07/27/2022