18th Sunday in Ordinary Time – Year C.
Commentary Theme for this Sunday:
“Hoarding Treasure For Oneself:
This Is Sheer Madness!”
What does the term ‘rich’ remind us of? A happy person, with a beautiful house, a new car, many servants, who can get whatever he or she wants and go where he or she pleases and to be envied and respected by all?
The Gospel of today is instead showing us the rich quite differently. Jesus is telling us that whoever hoards goods for himself or herself is a ‘fool’, a poor person who has got everything wrong in life.
The first reading prepares this theme by giving us the reflections of the wise Qoheleth on the accumulation of riches that we must learn to leave to others.
The second reading speaks of the ‘new clothes’ that the Christian is wearing. The ‘new behaviour’ that characterizes him or her as a disciple of Christ includes also a radically different relationship with riches.
It is recommended that the actual readings are first studied and then meditated upon with a prayer to the Holy Spirit to grant you the gift of ‘wisdom’ to understand the meaning of the messages of Love, Forgiveness and the Offer of Salvation that the Lord has for each one of us in the Holy Bible.
These commentaries, which have been extracted and summarised for our meditation are from the published works of priests who have by their Divine inspiration become acclaimed scholars of the Scriptures and generally reflect the Church’s understanding of the readings.
These commentaries are not meant to replace the Sunday Homily at Holy Mass but are provided as an additional guide to assist and further enhance our understanding of the Sunday Liturgical Readings.
‘Daily Reflections’ and a Prayer are included to enable us to ‘Live the Word’ during the week following the Sunday Mass. We will begin to understand the meaning of gratuitous love and our life’s true purpose. Through His Word we will follow the Light to help fulfil the mission that has been given to each one of us by our Creator.
“Allow the Spirit of God to break the chains that keep us from understanding and accepting the word of God.”
About two hundred and twenty years before Christ there was a wise man in Jerusalem that the people named Qoheleth, which means ‘man of the Assembly’. He was a person teaching wisdom to many disciples. Israel at that time was undergoing radical changes and the economy was in full boom. Many Jews of the day, fascinated by the prospect of wealth, welcome the new fashion, ways and customs. Their only interest becomes money and they even give up their faith and the religious practice of their people. The wise Qoheleth is not contaminated by this collective frenzy which was driving all to accumulated riches. His reflections remained focused on people, on the world and on life. He asks himself: why is one born and then dies? Why is there suffering? Why are there so many people who are so eager to be after pleasure and enjoyment? Why do the foolish and wise people alike end up that way? Is it worth being deeply committed if life passes by like a breath of air or like the stream that vanishes?
Qoheleth considers all that is going on earth and finally concludes: “Everything is futile”. It is a sad and bitter establishment of a fact. In his short book he repeats this 25 times. The human person he says is seeking happiness, but this search is like running after the wind. Qoheleth councils his disciples on finding a healthy enjoyment of what life has to offer. He does not provide an answer to these fundamental questions. The replies to these questions will not be found in his book but in the Gospel. Jesus will invite all people to open up their minds and eyes and not to direct their interest only to personal gain and benefit. Is there a world we can build that will not pass away? Is there a task we can perform that will lead to something lasting? The mission of the Church testifies that there is. The person, who labours for his or her brother or sister, is not labouring in vain, for vanity or for the absurd. Both the Old Testament reading and the Gospel offers us the very same lesson this Sunday. Perhaps it is because we need it so desperately. The treasure we all need to hoard up is ‘Love for God and gratuitous love for our neighbour’!
Psalm 90:3-6, 12-14, 17.
The Psalm too gives us the reflections of one’s awareness of the shortness of life. The author takes seriously God’s words to Adam in Genesis about returning to dust (Gn 3:18). Despite all, he still praises God and lives his life in communion with him, unlike the ‘Rich Fool’ in the Gospel.
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11.
In our final passage from Colossians, we learn about Christian behaviour. Our way of life as Christians depends on our understanding of the person of Christ and on a dignity based on baptismal experience. Full salvation belongs to the future; for the present, the vices that threaten the rest of humanity, threaten the Christian too. Among these is ‘greed’, the vice that destroyed the man (Rich Fool) in the Gospel. Our destiny is to be fully identified with Christ. Through baptism we have become similar to our Creator, but we are still covered by so many impurities that it is almost impossible to see in us the countenance of the Father. Recognition takes time; first of all the old life must be wiped away together with all its pagan habits, and only after that, slowly appears in us a ‘new person’. This passage is an invitation not to get discouraged, even if we see that we are still very far away from resembling our Father who is in heaven. God’s grace and love for our neighbour can fast-track us there.
Today’s Gospel begins with two brothers asking Jesus to settle their property claims. Jesus refuses to do so. He then says to them, and to each one of us, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of ‘greed’; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Jesus teaches us how to look at our worldly possessions from the point of view of faith. The parable of the Rich Fool we read today is found only in Luke’s Gospel. Jesus refuses to be dragged into settling a dispute over inheritance and warns the hearers, through the wisdom of a parable, that they ought to be attentive where they give their importance, to God, or to their numerous worldly possessions?
Jesus warns that looking for happiness by having more things is a false dream for two reasons. The more we have, the more we thirst and hunger for. The more we have does not make us satisfied and feeling at peace. There is also the simple truth that we are just passing through this world and in the end we will take nothing with us (Sir 11:19). God is our only lasting treasure and anything else that does not bring us nearer to God and to each other is not worth living for.
The parable of the ‘Rich Fool’ helps us to become more aware of how short-sighted and foolish our attitude to possessions can be. In the beginning we are inclined to feel admiration and sympathy for the man in the story. By worldly standards, he has been smart, enterprising, and hardworking These are the same shape as ordinary warning signs but are orange in colour instead of Yellow best-driving-school.com tests are conducted under the authority of the Board of The Road Safety Authority, and drivertesters should be aware that they are representing the Road Safety Authority when they are carrying outtheir duties. and was blessed by God with good harvests. We can all easily identify with this happy man. All of a sudden, the story turns round to condemn the rich man and us with him. What went wrong?
In his riches he has completely forgotten what is most important in life: God and other people. He never thinks or speaks about them. He only thinks of himself. One would have expected that the rich man would have shown some gratitude to God who has enabled the land to produce this plentiful harvest and to people who help sow and to reap. But God and other people have not been included in his projects. The ‘Rich Fool’ had hoped to provide for ‘only himself’ a better life for tomorrow, now God reminds him that only God is the ‘Master of Tomorrow’.
We do need money to survive in this culture, and we need it to take care of those who depend on us. And if we splurge once in a while on some unnecessary thing, is that so bad? Jesus is not intent on laying a guilt trip on us on how we spend our money. He just wants to be clear that the getting of money is a temporal matter that has a ‘mortality’ of its own. If the getting of money is what our lives are about, what will we do when the life of money is behind us? The time is coming for each of us when a million dollars will simply be so much worthless paper.
This week let us put our ‘treasure’ in lasting things. Give time to someone who asks for it. Give money to someone who can’t pay you back. Give the ‘treasure of love’ to all those you come in contact with. Do we want more, or to be more?
In the Acts of Apostles, Luke paints a picture of such an ideal community where all share their possessions in solidarity with the poor and no one is in need (Acts 2:42-47; 4:32-37).
‘Acknowledgement and Thanks’ to ‘Recommended Source Material’ by:
Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Fr. Fernando Armellini SCI, Peter Edmonds SJ, Richard Baawobr M.Afr, Joseph A. Slattery Ph.D, Adelmo Spagnolo MCCJ, Silvester O’Flynn OFM Cap, J.E. Spicer CSsR, John R. Donahue SJ and Alice Camille – Master’s degree in Divinity.
Reflections for each day this Week:
Almighty God and Father, on the … of the week following
18th Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C, we reflect on …
Sun. … The world in which we live shares many of the same values that the people of Qoheleth’s time seem to have held. Our present day culture seems to treasure the material values of this world. Do we allow ourselves to become contaminated by these false treasures and forget about God and our neighbour?
Mon. … Do we, like Qoheleth, sometimes wonder what the purpose of our lives and our toils are? Qoheleth has concluded with foresight that the fruits of our toil will become the property of a person who has expended not the slightest effort in acquiring it. Therefore there is no real gain materially or permanent value in this life. Do we too question the purpose of life?
Tues. … Jesus will invite all people to open their minds and eyes and not direct their interests only to personal gain and benefit. The simple truth is that we are all passing through this world on our journey of salvation and in the end will take no material possessions with us. Our love for God and our neighbour is our only ‘lasting treasure’ that has lasting value.
Wed. … In the second reading, Paul tells his Colossian converts and us, to ‘seek the things that are above’. When we become like Christ we begin to resemble our Father in heaven and the virtues and values we are expected to have when we complete our journey of salvation.
Thurs.… The ‘Rich Fool’ in the parable for whom we were inclined to feel admiration and sympathy for had hoped to provide a better life for tomorrow. In his accumulation of riches he has forgotten what is most important in life: the love of God and his neighbour. He allowed his objective of security to become selfish greed and his idol.
Frid. … In today’s readings God reminds us all that only ‘He’ is the ‘Master of Tomorrow’. Our lives are not made secure by what we own. Having more often leads to enjoying less. The most valuable things in life are beyond the buying power of money.
Sat. … Is there a treasure that we can build that will be lasting and not pass away? The mission of the Church testifies that there is. The person, who labours for his brother or sister gratuitously, is not labouring in vain.
Prayer after the Daily Reflection.
Father, we pray for the wisdom not to allow ourselves to be contaminated by the false treasures of this world. May we always recognize that the most valuable things in life are beyond the buying power of money. By Your grace may we always put the gifts You have given us in lasting things and gratuitously labour for our brothers and sisters in need.
This we ask through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, One God, forever and ever. Amen.
Compliments: Bible Discussion Group.
Our Lady of the Wayside, Maryvale.
“Discovering the Truth through God’s living Word”.