HOMILY FOR THE 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: WOULD I DO THINGS DIFFERENTLY IF I KNEW TODAY WAS MY LAST DAY?
BY: Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 31 2022
(ECCLESIASTES 1:2; 2:21-23; COLOSSIANS 3:1-5,9-11; LUKE 12:13-21)
The Book of Ecclesiastes dramatically blows away the assumption of earlier Israel that happiness is to be found in wealth and distinction, and that wealth is a sign of God’s blessing. This late book of Wisdom is full of disillusionment and restless questioning of all the old certainties, not even sure of the afterlife. It queries whether happiness is anywhere to be found. In this it partners the gospel reading about the rich fool, though the rich fool is condemned for his selfish hoarding, while the author of Ecclesiastes despairingly thinks that no toil can win any worthwhile result. This Book is included in the collection of the revealed truth because it is always useful to question our certainties again and make up our mind again.
Sometimes we think that Jesus is a sort of the enemy of the rich or that If one is rich, he or she is not following the way of Jesus. Not at all. Jesus is not interested in money. His interest is the things that are God’s. And the things that are God’s are you: your soul. God is interested in you. So, when Jesus speaks these things, he is saying, “I’m telling you what God thinks of you. You are not to be lowered to the thing of chasing after money, worrying about what you are going to eat or what you are going to do, or all these things. You are too important. I have created you for eternity.
Of course, we know that it is not riches that are the root of all evil. (1Tim 6:10) The Bible says the Love of Money is the root of all evil. Because the love of money forces our attention on something that is less relevant. It is not important compared to what we are, and it brings about the misuse of the best things in ourselves. A preoccupation with money is, even in the most interesting people, a great distraction is to miss life. And not only do you spoil your own life, but you also spoil the life of the people that come after you. Sounds very sad but look around you, look at our world today, look at international relations today and you will understand why we have less peace and more wars.
Avarice is one of the seven capital sins. It is a sin which makes one become like the material good that one seeks. It is a hidden enemy of every child of God. So, we must avoid it because it is dangerously contagious! The more we place our hopes on things of this world, the more we lose sight of heaven. This is because: “Where a man’s wealth is, there is his soul.” That is why Paul says, “Kill everything in you that belongs to only earthly life. A lesson we can take from this parable is that it does us no good to pile up riches for ourselves if we are not rich in what matters to God. Regardless of our wealth, or lack of wealth, we must be generous, not greedy.
Today more importantly my brothers and sisters, we are reminded that we are in a transitory world. Hence, it is a call to make use of the things of this world prudently without losing our ultimate goal. It is only when we make heaven our goal that the full meaning of life would be revealed and realized. Many Christians have become so attached to the things of this world that we hardly reflect about heaven anymore. This is because it has become “a tale told by an idiot full of sound and fury, signifying nothing” (Shakespeare). The pursuit of wealth and the pleasures of this world have so blinded us to the reality that we are pilgrims here on earth.
Jesus is teaching us in the gospel to focus on your own life, the day-to-day development of your life and that “one’s life does not consist of possessions.” The rich man certainly didn’t know that today would be his last day on this earth. If he had known, I wonder if he might have done things differently? Would we do things differently today if we knew today was our last day?
God bless you!
Fr. Augustine Ikechukwu Opara