Nothing is Permanent on Earth

Sunday readings in brief 18 C

Eccl 1:2, 2:21-23; Ps 89(90); Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21

Nothing is Permanent on Earth

Dear friends, today is the eighteenth Sunday in ordinary time. The readings today, invite us to reflect upon the things that occupy our everyday life. Are they things that will eventually earn us eternal life? Even if one did not believe in life after death, everyone is very certain about the end of his or her life on earth one day. However, hardly do we think about this end instead, we are swamped decorating the present life sometimes even in crooked ways.

The first reading strikes directly to the point. “Vanity of vanities…all is vanity”. The word ‘Vanity’ here is means worthless, trivial, or pointless. The long and short of this reading is we need to ask ourselves often if what we are expending our time and energies on, is ultimately the most important thing in life.

Every morning, depending on various factors such as age, work/trade, status, environment, and weather conditions, all of us wake up the time we wake up and begin executing plans and programmes. Those who are independent execute their own plan and those who are dependent execute the plans of those on whom they depend. However, whether independent or dependent, every person with good judgment knows whether the enterprise that occupies his or her time is good or bad.

St. Paul in the second reading is urging us to look for the things that are in heaven where Christ, is because that is the only place where we will find permanence. While we need to strive to lead decent lives here on earth, we should not lose focus on the ultimate destiny. We are invited to utilize the things of this life to build on the life to come. Jesus came to teach us that eternity is twofold. He said, “Do not be amazed at this, because the hour is coming in which all who are in the tombs will hear his voice and will come out, those who have done good deeds to the resurrection of life, but those who have done wicked deeds to the resurrection of condemnation.” (Jn 5:29) Our faith in Christ Jesus must help us to make the right choice and expend the right amount of effort to attain the desired eternity.

In the Gospel reading, as usual, Jesus uses a parable to describe the end of time when a man approached him to ask for help with a property dispute between him and his brother. Today, our world is experiencing a lot of devastation from the greed of one of its species, humans. You can read some amount of self-interest in almost all occupations including those that call themselves “charity”. In very few instances will you find men and women committed entirely to the interest of the community or the people they serve. The rest have different amounts of self-interests disguised in many ways.

Jesus reminds us that we are fools if we invest all our energies and efforts to amass things of this world that eventually will be left behind. This is not something meant to instill fear in anyone because we witness it during funerals. Even those who considered themselves the greatest on earth end up in a hole dug under the earth. Others are burnt to ashes or left to rot in the jungle just like all the living species. Death is the only equalizer of all on earth and the fact that no one knows his or her expiry date, is something that needs to call for the attention of every one of us.

Dear friends, as we begin another week today, I invite us to reflect upon the things that occupy our minutes, hours, days, months, and years and see if they are building up to the eternity we desire. The choice of eternity is purely personal.

Have a blessed Sunday.

Fr. Lawrence Muthee, SVD

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