18th Sunday O.T. (C)
SEEK WHAT IS ABOVE WHERE CHRIST IS SEATED. BE RICH IN WHAT MATTERS TO GOD.
Dear brethren in Christ, today’s Sunday liturgy invites us to reflect on OUR LIFE PRIORITIES. The world and our life on earth are fleeting realities (1st reading) such that we must not put our hope in the material things of this world (Gospel). Rather, it is necessary that we “seek what is above” avoiding those things which would impede the realization of the new life of Christ in us.
- The 1st reading (Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23) reminds us that of the vanity of all things in this life. “For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?”
- The unfathomable mystery of death and limitation of human happiness, with no prospect of eternity, are a permanent source of fraud. Only in God −and not in the things of this world− shall we find the fulfillment of our innate aspiration towards perfect happiness
- This is the reason why St. Paul, in the 2nd reading (Colossians 3:1-5.9-11) encourages us to seek and think of what is above, where Christ is.
“Brothers and sisters: If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Think of what is above, not of what is on earth. For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory.
PUT TO DEATH, THEN, THE PARTS OF YOU THAT ARE EARTHLY: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry. Stop lying to one another, since you have taken off the old self with its practices and have PUT ON THE NEW SELF, WHICH IS BEING RENEWED, FOR KNOWLEDGE, IN THE IMAGE OF ITS CREATOR.”
- Incorporated into the redeeming mystery of Christ’s life, Christians must PUT TO DEATH the WORKS OF THE “OLD MAN” (immorality, impurity, evil desires, greed =all that is sinful) and PUT ON AND LIVE THE “NEW LIFE IN CHRIST,” for it is through this −LIVING CHRIST’S LIFE, IDENTIFYING OURSELVES WITH HIM− that the true Christian can overcome daily the risk of frustration of his life for eternity and arrive at perfect happiness.
- We have to frequently examine ourselves on our LIFE PRIORITIES. In the Gospel (Luke 12: 13-21), Jesus narrates the PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL who had no other goal in this life than the accumulation of material wealth.
“There was 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?’ Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.”
- What use would have material wealth if deep within we are impoverished? The man in the parable was materially rich, but spiritually impoverished due to his greed. He converted material wealth as an end in itself, instead of just being a means to live a decent life and help others as well.
Dear friends, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” WE SHOULD BE VIGILANT SO THAT GOD ALWAYS OCCUPIES THE FIRST PLACE IN OUR LIFE PRIORITIES. IF MATERIAL THINGS (RICHES, WORK, FAME…) OCCUPY HIS PLACE, THEN WE ARE IN THE WRONG PATH AND WE SHOULD RECTIFY AT ONCE.
Man is created to praise, give glory, love and serve God and through this he will save his soul. Everything else would have its real worth in so far as they help us reach our ultimate goal. We should not forget that our life is a pilgrimage towards heaven where it will only have its full realization. LET US THEN IN THIS LIFE SEEK WHAT IS ABOVE AND STRUGGLE TO BE RICH IN THINGS WHICH MATTERS TO GOD.
Mother Mary, Queen of Heaven and Earth, pray for us!
Fr. Rolly Arjonillo, priest of Opus Dei.
ORIGINAL PHOTO SOURCE: Giovanni del Biondo, “Saints,” http://www.catholictradition.org/Saints/saints11-allsaints1.jpg