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Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time C: July 31, 2022

Luke 12: 13-21

Fr. John Tran

Today’s readings are not very cheerful. The first reading from Ecclesiastes proclaims that “all things are vanity.” “All” doesn’t leave any room for anything else. The responsorial psalm reminds us the in the end we will all “turn back to dust.” It also entreats us, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” St. Paul adds, “Put to death...the parts of you that are earthly.” And, Jesus’ parable seem to be a severe warning against the entrapment of riches and self absorption. So, what are we to base our worth on?

The rich landowner is not necessarily a bad person. He may not be dishonest or cruel. Yet he is a fool. Why? First he is self-centered and a loner. He sees his wealth and good luck not as something to share with others, but as something to store up and hoard for himself. Second, he assumes he is the cause of his good fortune. He doesn’t take into consideration other factors like he fertile land, favorable weather conditions, or his skilled and hard workers. And third, he thinks his wealth can secure his future. Consequently, he has no need of others, not even God. And what is more, he has not even a thought for others, their need or for God. Ironically, in a few hours he will have no earthly possessions and no future at all here on earth; he will die.

These readings invite us to ask: where is our treasure? Does it lie in stuff’ or relationships, possessions or people, hoarding or sharing? How do we measure success by how much we bring in, or how free we are to give away? And finally, where does our security lie: in our material assets, or in our gracious God who loves us more than we can imagine?

Today, while we can still hear the voice of Jesus, let us look outward, look beyond ourselves. When we do this, we can see our neighbor, whether he or she is friend or stranger, or even better, an enemy. We look at what is invisible, that is seeing Christ and as Christ sees, and not making ourselves the center of our concern and our only goal in living. There is life that exists beyond what we can see: what is important is invisible to the eye. After all, that is how God sees; so, “If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

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