Homily Ė 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)
Let me offer you a deal. I will give you the perfect day for a price. On that day you will be completely comfortable. Your health with be perfect. You wonít desire a single thing more. You will have all the money you want. You can buy anything you want. You can do anything you want. Everyone will love you or act like they do. You will be the most popular person on the planet. Sound good? Is there anything in this world that I am leaving out? Add it to the picture in your imagination.
Now here is the cost. The day will only last for a single day. After that, the rest of your life will be miserable and you wonít remember the one good day you had. How many of you would take the deal. I donít think many would if I spelled out the terms that clearly. Some would but most wouldnít. The only way I get you to take it is if I could convince you there was no catch. If I could then many would take the deal.
Many people do take this very deal because they are convinced that there is no catch. Godís says: ďWith the Lord one day is like a thousand years and a thousand years like one day.Ē Our life is but a day in the space of eternity. Yet many people spend their whole lives chasing after worldly things. They spend their lives working for the things of this world. Our first reading tells us this is vanity. ď Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill,
and yet to another who has not labored over it, he must leave property. This also is vanity and a great misfortune. For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun? All his days sorrow and grief are their occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest. This also is vanity.Ē
A vanity is something that is vain, empty, or valueless. In the scope of eternity 100 years of bliss are not worth millions of years of misery.
To many Christians are far to short sighted to realize this. We like to buy credit. Buy now, pay later. That is exactly what happens when we chase after worldly things. We buy fleeting moments of pleasure and we pay for it for eternity.
How do we do this? We donít read the fine print. We donít even read the large print in scripture. It is right in front of us today. The Devil obscures our sight and convinces us there is no price to pay for their indulgence. The second reading clearly states though that we should seek ďwhat is above, not of what is on earth.Ē If we have accepted the rights that come along with baptism we must also accept the responsibilities. If we are raised with Christ then we must seek what is above.
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, lying to one another, and the greed that is idolatry are incompatible with the Christian life. When we choose these things we choose earthly things. We ignore what God says and we are deceived by the devil.
But it isnít just these things. If anything of this world stands between us and following Godís commands it becomes an idol. If we use the gifts we are given for our pleasure and desire rather than Godís kingdom then we have chosen the things of this earth above the things of God.
We see this clearly in the Gospel. When God blesses the man with a bountiful harvest does he seek to use that for the Kingdom of God? No instead he adds to his lifestyle. He builds bigger things of this earth. He uses them for his pleasure and says: “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for many years, rest, eat, drink, be merry!” He is a bad steward of what God has given him. God says this himself: ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’nThus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” He stores up treasure for himself but neglects the things that matter to God. What are those things? His soul, and the souls of others around him. We need to examine our consciences in light of this as well. This is what stewardship is about. On the back of every bulletin for a number of weeks we are putting stewardship thoughts and scriptures. We are not called to be good stewards because it is good for the ďchurchĒ. We are called to be good stewards because it is good for our souls. It puts first things first. That is why during the stewardship process we were asked to sit down and pray about what God was calling us to give. We are challenged to give sacrificially to the Lord of our time, talent, and treasure. Sacrifice means an act of offering to a deity something precious. Something precious, not something left over. He sacrificed his son for us? What do we give back to him? Some will say I did pray and I give what I think God told me to give in time, talent and treasure. God calls us in scripture to tithe 10% of our blessings. God doesnít contradict himself. So if what we prayed about is less than that we can put our faith in Godís infallible word in Scripture or we can put faith in ourselves. A tithe what we owe. Offerings are anything beyond that.
Now all of the parishes have their strengths and all have their weaknesses. But Stewardship is an area we can all improve in. If we donít then we die spiritually and our parishes will die as well. At our current levels of giving we will not be able to sustain our parishes. We will just have a slow death. Insurance, salaries, fuel prices, utilities, mowing, maintenance, etc are not things we can do without and they arenít getting cheaper. Likewise if people do not give of their time and talent then there really is no way a parish can survive.
In the next few months I will be asking members of the parishes to take a hard, and honest look at our parishes. If we want to continue to have a parish in our local community there are things that need to be done. If fail to plan for the future, then we plan to fail in the future. Reality is what it is and it can be ignored for a time but in the end it will catch us.
Our life and death is in our hands. It is an eternal life and death that is made based on the choices we make. If we choose to spend our life on this earth focused on what matters to us, then we choose a day of pleasure in an eternity of days. If we spend it on the things of God then might have 80 years of sacrificial giving but an eternity of happiness.
The choices you make today are what matter the most because there might not be a choice tomorrow. Godís words in the Gospel could be addressed to you: ‘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.” What will you psend your time, talent and treasure on? Treasure for yourselves or rich in the matters of God? A single day of pleasure or an eternity of happiness? The choice is yours. Choose well.
Homily Ė 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C)