Aug 4 2019 Reflection
Sunday 4 August 2019
First Reading: ECC 1:2; 2:21-23
If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
PS 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 AND 17
Second Reading: COL 3:1-5, 9-11
Gospel Reading: LK 12:13-21
Today’s Note: Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”
Vanity of vanities! (Ecclesiastes 1:2)
Ecclesiastes is one of the most puzzling books in the Bible. From the very beginning, the author, Qoheleth, uncovers something we don’t like to think about: the seeming futility of life. Material pleasures don’t satisfy. Justice is rare. Death makes our accomplishments seem pointless. We feel trapped in an endless cycle, and “nothing is new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9).
But far from sounding like a disgruntled old man, Qoheleth is a brave teller of uncomfortable truths. He is aware that people may not like what he has to say, but he doesn’t want anyone to ignore reality.
Qoheleth is doing more than painting a gloomy picture. His book describes a world that is closed off to God. He is showing us what life would look like without a Father in heaven who promises to hold us in the palm of his hand. But then he ends his book by telling us that we do have such a Father. “Remember your Creator,” he says, “before the evil days come” (Ecclesiastes 12:1). Keep the memory of God alive so that you will be able to weather the bad times—because they will surely come. Never forget who God is and all that he has done. Never forget what he has done for you.
This is sound advice, but now there is more to the story. Jesus’ resurrection has changed everything! He has opened the gates of heaven, and we can now experience God, not just in our memory, but alive and active in our hearts. We can experience the presence of Christ, along with his comfort, his healing power, and his wisdom in our day-to-day lives. So where Qoheleth would have said, “Remember God!” you can say, “Yes, and experience Jesus!”
Brothers and sisters, life is not futile. It may be wild and dangerous at times, but Jesus has conquered death and dispelled gloom. His promises are not vain, and his power is real. Reach out to him today, and let him show you that all is not vanity any longer.
“Praise to you, Jesus, for conquering death and for opening heaven!”