Homily for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: All is vanity
By: Fr. Cyril Unachukwu CCE
Homily for Sunday August 4 2019
One of the central preoccupations of every person on earth is the desire to be secure and to be safe in body, mind, spirit and soul from all harms and adversities. There are gross limitations to the security and safety material things can offer because true security and safety come from God and “unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain” (Ps 127:1). May we never place our trust in the transient things of this world as to lose sight and hold of the indispensability of God in our lives; Amen.
Wealth and other material things of this world are very useful for our upkeep and for living a healthy and stable style of life. They are necessary in as much as they help us to live for God and in God. They become very much dispensable and unnecessary if they begin to constitute obstacles in our journey towards God in the form of distractions. There is always this danger of idolization of wealth and power that they begin to constitute great obstacles in our relationship with God, in our gaze on God; a situation in which instead of seeing the hand of God at work around us, one begins to see only but wealth and a progressive but destructive calculation of matter. This was the problem of the rich man in the parable of the Gospel Reading of today (Luke 12:13-21). Blessed by the God of abundant harvest, this rich man was carried away by the false indications of safety and security from his plentiful harvest that he even forgot to give thanks to God but to totally concentrate on himself and on the enjoyment that awaits him. This man saw his abundance as the very end in itself instead of as a means to an end. This error changed his whole perspective about life and the purpose of his life and eventually cost him his relationship with God. In this parable, instructing us through the man in the crowd, Jesus admonished us to “watch, and be on our guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made secure by what he owns.” Security and safety come God!
This is very important because of the flexibility and transient nature of the things of this world. Material things and all earthly powers are fluid and unstable. Every human and earthly security, irrespective of how huge and insurmountable they may seem, are essentially capable of failing us and exposing us to the greatest of dangers; especially the danger of losing our souls. This becomes even more dangerous when one misplaces his or her priorities and seems to absolutise the ontologically limited security that seems to come from material possessions and the earthly powers. Highlighting this eternal truth, the First Reading (Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23) reminds us that “vanity of vanities, the preacher says. Vanity of vanities. All is vanity!” Likewise all hopes and security and trust built on vanity is itself vanity also. The antidote to this circularity of vanities is trust in God for He alone has been “our refuge from one generation to the next.” To enjoy the security and safety which come from above requires the spirit of detachment from the things of this world and our unflinching trust in the power of God to keep us safe from harm and to secure us in all adversity and uncertainties. The providence of God to us was most sublimely and concretely manifested in our Lord Jesus Christ and in Him is found the safety and security we seek. In Christ is our safety! In Christ we are secure! For “since we have been brought back to true life with Christ, we must look for the things that are in heaven, where Christ is… there is only Christ: He is everything and He is in everything” (Col 3:1-5, 9-11). Our gaze and focus on the things above teaches us the very nature of the things here below and enlightens our minds on the right use of the things of this world.
May God help us always to discern the limits of material and earthly powers and to realise that in Him alone are we both secure and safe; Amen.
Happy Sunday; Fr Cyril CCE