HOMILY FOR THE 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: Setting the Mind on Things That Last
BY: Fr. Luke Ijezie
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 31 2022
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
The readings of this 18th Sunday of the liturgical year invite us to live with wisdom knowing the shortness of life. Some people act as if they had the power to live here for ever. The death of beloved ones and the loss of beloved things teach us that everything we see and touch is transitory.
1. The first reading from Ecclesiastes 1-2 presents us with the famous cliché: vanity upon vanities, all is vanity (Eccl 1:2). The actual Hebrew word used here is “hebel” meaning “breath, wind, vapour”. The idea is that of something that does not last, something terribly transitory; when you think you have it, it immediately vanishes. Such 8s vapour, wind, breath. Such is our earthly life and its toils. We struggle and labour and hustle to accumulate only to die prematurely and another who never joined in our labour and toil eats the fruit. In the face of this near absurdity, the psalmist of Psalm 90 prays God to make us know the shortness of our life so that we may have wisdom of heart. The way we accumulate the things of this world often give the impression that we are abysmally ignorant of the transitory nature of our life.
2. The second reading from Colossians 3 exhort us to focus our minds more on the things that last, that is, on the things above, on superior values. This means changing the way we look at earthly things, renewing the philosophy of our lives, remembering that we shall not be here forever. It involves renewing our minds and curbing them of all destructive vices, such as immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, covetousness, greed, ego mania, dishonesty. All these are earthborn passions that incline us to think that our life is dependent on all we possess. So we are ready to kill and destroy others to possess them.
3. The Gospel reading from Luke 12:13-21 narrates the story of the famous rich fool. The pathetic thing about the man in this story is that he is really very hard working but he is still called a fool. Why? He put his trust only in his wealth, his accumulations. He taught his life was totally depended on them. That’s why despite his great success in work he ended up miserably. Life and happiness do not depend on how much one possesses, even though the attraction may be there. The real anchor of our life is God. Without him, we are building on sand.
4. These readings surely indict all of us both individually and collectively. They do not encourage us to work less or to remain lazy but, rather, to labour with God as the anchor and end of all struggles. In that way, every success is attributed to God and also used to praise Him. When we see ourselves as working for God and working with God, we can never use our position or possession to defraud or oppress others. In fact, we shall be better placed to be less self-centred and to hear the cry of the poor and needy, the cry of the oppressed and deprived. Then we shall not see our wealth as things we shall enjoy for many years just to give rest to our soul but as means to bring joy and relief to many suffering people.
The psalmist invites us: If today, you hear His voice heard not your hearts. May His voice, which we hear today, transform us from within!
Fr. Luke Ijezie