Homily for the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time Year C
Theme: A man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possession; they are vanity.
By: Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf
Homily for Sunday August 4 2019
READINGS: Ecclesiastes 1: 2; 2: 21-23, Ps. 90, Colossians. 3: 1-5, 9-11, Luke 12: 13-21
Certain things in this world are relevant, indispensable, necessary and needed. Such things are objects of man’s rational search and any man that spends his energy and time to acquire them would not be making mistake. It is also true that some things of this category can be done without when weighed on the spiritual scale since they can be sacrificed for something enduring and higher. These higher things can be called the real image not the shadow. In human life such things are very few but there are so many things that are human needs and wants that the true spiritual and rational human being can overlook.
Such things according to the wisdom writer of the first reading in Ecclesiastes are classified as vanity, useless, and unnecessary. It is unfortunate that human beings created in the image and likeness of God as spiritual beings get confused and remain blindfolded by those things that are vanity. Unfortunately the main object of concern and search of many especially Christians is about these vanities. We spend our resources, gifts, intelligence and time working towards acquiring and retaining such vanities. These vanities are also left behind at the demise of the rational man which comes unannounced. Most often those vanities cause more problem and confusion, disunity and war even death of some family members after the death of the one who acquired them. These vanities prevent the owner from knowing God and doing his will; the way of acquiring those things often go contrary to the life of the children of God. They often lead us to evil and abominable crimes such as cultism, ritual killings, abduction, charm making, murder, suicide; ritualistic offering of some parts of the body etc. At times we steal, maim, kill, deceive, cheat, bribe and use other corrupt practices to acquire them. In order to protect them, we do more evil things and give them more time worshipping the gods behind such vanities.
Beloved, it is good to purse and reflect over these words of the first reading: What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun? For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest. Have you been stinking rich before? Have you acquired so much money and through foul means before? Is your money more than what an individual around you should have? Do people question the source of your riches and wealth? Even when you have acquired them through honest means are you safe to move around? Do they give you good time to worship God and use them to praise him? How much time do you have for God and how well do you sleep while thinking about either to preserve, invest or use them?
Beloved, this attitude of giving first place to material things, wealth and riches is a sign of an unspiritual person. It is a mark of those who have not been raised with Christ and whose lives are not hidden in him; those who are still buried in the earth of sin and iniquity. If you are raised with Christ, you will set your mind and attention on the things of heaven and things of God; you will make heavenly riches your priority. Those who are material-bound and worldly think always of money and wealth and riches and these are the objects of their thinking and concern. Often we do not meditate on enduring things and do not remember that we shall one day leave this world and give account of ourselves. Many think of accounting money and what they built and donated to churches and the society and having no spiritual intention in such acts. They get them through dirty sinful means and think that using them for the Church and charity will make them acceptable before God. These are such people who go to court to fight for the will of the dead relative; they go to contest with others over lands, and property as seen in the gospel of today. These people allow material things to divide them and their brothers, them and their other family member and good friends.
Beloved, to such people Jesus advices: Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man’s life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions. The owner of your life who you never cared to work for or give your time while on earth because of your preoccupation with earthly things would sometime make demand of your life when you are not prepared: Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared whose will they be? (Ahapu ndu chuwa aku, onye iro erie- When we care less about life preservation in pursuit of wealth, the enemy benefits from it as soon as we die).
Let us ask God to save us from vain practices and unnecessary worldly enjoyments such as Immorality, Impurity, Passion, Evil desire, and covetousness, Idolatry and Lies. Lord, teach us to number our days that we may gain wisdom of heart; show pity to us your servants and fill us with your merciful love that we may rejoice and exult all our days, Amen.
Rev. Fr. Callistus Emenyonu, cmf