for Sunday, July 31, 2022
This weeks readings combat the popular theme: the one who has the most wins.
Instead, with God the one who has the most stuff and the least of God's presence loses.
A number of years ago I visited a retired lady who told me that she had allowed
her entire life to revolve around making money. She was industrious. She was
successful. I visited her in her dream house. Her living room looked like the display
room of an expensive department store. She had anything and everything she could
possibly want. You know what she said to me. She said, "Father, I am so empty. I've
killed myself all my life for what I have, and it isn't enough. I've wasted all my energy on
things. Honestly, I would be happy to give all this stuff back if I could relive those times
when money was more important to me than God.
What she expressed candidly is something that few of us have the courage to
admit. Yes, we have to provide for our families, for our children and their future, for the
grandchildren, and for our retirement, but we can get so caught up in making money that
money and the things we can buy easily can become an end for our life instead of a
means to draw us closer to God. So what do we do? We work too hard. We don't have
enough time for our families. We get ulcers and early heart attacks. And we have more
things than the next guy. And we think we have won. But we have lost. For in the long
run, the quality of our lives is inferior to the quality of the lives of those who concentrate
on that which really matters.
"Vanity of vanities," says Qoheleth, the Preacher from the Book of Ecclesiastes,
our first reading for this Sunday. Vanity of Vanities. We kill ourselves, and for what? For
that which are useless in relationship to the real priorities of life.
We really are strange. We all know that you can't take it with you. But we all tend
to jump on an opportunity to benefit financially even if this opportunity demands that we
withdraw from our family life. And what do we do when we have that extra edge? We
build a new silo to hold our wealth.
"Vanity of Vanities," says Qoheleth. Qoheleth has a message for modern
America, the same message the Lord is teaches in the form of today's parable. The
message is: keep your priorities straight in life. If our treasure is in heaven, if we work for
that which is spiritual, mainly if we build on the sacrificial love of the Lord, then we will be
able to embrace the Lord's love in eternity. But if our treasures are mundane. If we have
denied sacrificial love for the sake of acquiring more stuff, then we won't have anything to
take with us in eternity, nor will we have the capacity to accept and enjoy God's love.
The goal of life is to be eternally happy, not temporarily happy. Without God all life
is meaningless. But with God, every aspect of our lives proclaim the reason for our
creation: to know him, to love him, to serve him.
Readings of the day:
First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1.2; 2.21-23
Second Reading: Colossians 3.1-5, 9-11
Gospel: Luke 12.13-21
This material is used with permission of its author, Rev. Msgr. Joseph A. Pellegrino, Diocese of St. Petersburg, FL. Visit his
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: