HOMILY FOR THE 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: Turn your thoughts to the things above, not to those of the earth
BY: Fr. Justin Nzekwe
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 31 2022
Insatiability is in the nature of human being. Human being will always acquire even the things he doesn’t need. We end up craving for what we simply want, instead of what we actually need. The rich man that we read in the gospel reading of today, ended up acquiring so much wealth that he thought that he has gotten all he needed to live. He had said to himself, “My soul, you have many goods at your disposal, for many years; rest, eat, drink and enjoy!” His attitude towards wealth was not what God was expecting from us as his children. God does not want our happiness to depend upon legacies, banquets, exotic holidays, big mansions, and other earthly possessions. All these things may be good, but they cannot satisfy the yearnings of human soul. This rich man is selfish and he thinks only of his own happiness. He did not remember the poor around him who have nothing to eat. He did not think about the laborers who worked for his wealth, but above all, he failed to be grateful to God who gave him life and good heath, which made it possible for him to make his wealth. He thought that he was better than everyone and that everything he has achieved is out of his own efforts. But God said to him: “Fool, this very night your life will be demanded of you. And what you have prepared, whose will it be?” If we have everything, but do not have God, then we are empty and spiritually poor. Jesus called this rich man a fool because the man never thought about the possibility of death, nor eternal life. He forgot that all his wealth will be of no value to him when he dies. In his selfishness and greed, he totally forgot about the need to store up heavenly treasures that truly last unto eternal life.
The first reading from the book of the Qoèlet reminds us about how meaningless our lives could be without God. It says: “Vanity of vanities: everything is vanity. Whoever has worked with wisdom, with science and with success will then have to leave the part of him to another who has not labored at all. This too is vanity and a great evil.” God is not asking us to stop working, or that there is something wrong about conquering the earth with science. He is not asking us to be lazy. He is simply telling us to avoid greed. He is telling us to always remember that this world is a temporal place and that our permanent home is in heaven. He is reminding us about how foolish it is for us to enjoy temporally here on earth, only to suffer permanently in the hellfire. He is telling us that we can use what we have on earth to prepare ourselves for where we shall be after death. Saint Paul in his letter to the Colossési, says: “if you have risen with Christ, look for the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God; turn your thoughts to the things above, not to those of the earth.” We are children of God and therefore God will never allow us to perish. He has given us his spirit to continue to guide and lead us to do his will. We must learn to pray and value God more than every other thing in our lives. We pray in this holy mass that God will continue to inspire us, so that we shall always focus on God, without being distracted by the temporal things of this world.