HOMILY FOR THE 18TH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C.
THEME: LET THE HEAVENLY WEALTH BE YOUR TARGET.
BY: Rev. Fr. Edward Onwueme E.
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY JULY 31 2022.
1st Rd. Eccl. 1:2, 2:21-23,
2nd Rd. Colossians 3:1-5. 9,
Gospel Of St Luke 12:13 – 21.
Jesus says in Matt 6:31-33, “So do not worry; do not say, ‘What are we to eat? What are we to drink? What are we to wear?’ It is the gentiles who set their hearts on all these things. Your heavenly Father knows you need them all. Set your hearts on his kingdom first, and on God’s saving justice, and all these other things will be given you as well.”
After my priestly ordination in some years ago, I went to celebrate Mass in one of the parishes in Obowo. When I was coming back, as a learner, my car entered into a big hole. I begged some youths around there to assist me to bring out my car, which they did. After that, I blessed them with many quotations from the Bible. Perhaps, these men told me, father, we don’t need the blessings, we only need your money. I was disappointed. This is to tell you that, many people coming to you as a priest, no longer interested with your prayers and blessings for them. They are coming to you for the material things.
Child of God, the three readings of today’s liturgy make reference to material possessions. Finances, property, possessions are indispensable for the living of our human lives. But a wrong attitude to these things can have disastrous consequences. The question from the ‘man in the crowd’, in the Gospel reading, reminds us that disputes about inheritance can destroy families. The disastrous consequences of greed, the obsession to have more in the lives of people both the rich and the poor are so subtle that they can easily be overlooked.
SOLOMON’S ADVICE FOR US ON THE EARTHLY POSSESSION
The first reading explains to us that the summary of the book of Ecclesiastes is, “All Things are Vanity,” which appeared thirty eight times in this book. Solomon claimed to have great wealth and wisdom (Eccl. 2:1-11), based on God’s response to his prayer (1 Kgs. 3:3-15). Solomon wrote this book reflecting on his life’s experiences and the lessons learned. His message for us today, is to enjoy life and be satisfied with what God has assigned to us. This is the same Gospel John the Baptist preached in Lk 3:13-15. Solomon considered his life and riches useless with these reasons:
1) You can’t keep it. The day would come when he will die and leave everything to his successor (Eccl. 2:18).
2) We can’t protect it, vv. 19-20. It’s bad enough that we must leave our wealth behind, but even worse that we might leave it to someone who will waste it. Just as Solomon did not know it at the time he built his kingdom, that Rehoboam would tear down everything (1 Kgs. 11:41-12:24).
3) We can’t enjoy it as we should, vv. 22-23.
THE COSTLY MISTAKE OF THE GREEDY MAN
The foolish rich man forgot in the Gospel of St Luke 12, that material things do not last forever. Jesus used this parable to teach this greedy young man who interrupted his teaching saying: “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.” Perhaps, Rabbis were expected to help to settle legal matters, but Jesus refused to get involved. Why? Because, He knew that no answer He will give would solve the real problem, which was covetousness in the heart of the two brothers. As long as both men were greedy, no settlement would be satisfactory. Their greatest need was to have their hearts changed.
Jesus told this parable to reveal the dangers that lurk in a covetous heart. This man had problem with too much wealth. He wanted to enjoy everything without giving to others, which is selfishness. That is why Solomon says in Eccl. 5:10, “If you love money, you will never be satisfied,” and Heb 13:5 says, “keep your lives free from the love of money, and be satisfied with what you have.” Many have died and lost their faith in God because of the love of money. No wonder St Paul warns us in 1 Tim 6:10 that, “for the love of money is a source of all kinds of evil.” This farmer saw his wealth as an opportunity to please himself. He had no thought of others or God. Just as King Nebuchadnezzar did when he made for himself a gold statue to worship, till God made him to become a beast (Dan. 3/4). The farmer made riches his god, but God who gave him this wealth called him a fool. This very night, you will come and give an account for your life.
JESUS TEACHING ON EARTHLY WEALTH
Jesus never condemns earthly riches, rather He taught that the wealthy should share what they have with those less fortunate.
There is a very big difference between wealth and riches.
A) A wealthy man has sustainable wealth. He will always be wealthy.
B) A rich man will only be so for a short period of time until the money is gone.
TYPES OF WEALTH
We have various types of wealth:
1) Physical/ fitness wealth: There are those who have money, without the good health. The Igbo says, “Ndu ka Aku.”
2) Mindset/ Emotional wealth: Having high-self respect and internal happiness.
3) Family wealth: Many have money without children and peace in their families. Nwakaego.
4)Financial wealth: having enough to take care of your need. Ego na ekwu okwu.
5) Social wealth: you are popular and have connections with many people.
6) Spiritual wealth: Having internal peace with yourself and your God.
Spiritual wealth is the greatest wealth.
Many are interested with money and other material things and overlook the must important wealth. Jesus teaches us in Matt 6:19-20, “Do not store up riches for yourselves here… Instead, store up treasures for yourselves in heaven…” In the second reading, St Paul warns us to set our hearts on the things that are in heaven (Col. 3:1). Many are no longer praying for their spiritual growths, they are only praying for the material things. God I need money, husband, children, promotion, job, admission, long life etc. Jesus is asking us today in Lk 9:25, Matt 16:26, “what will profit a man to gain the whole world and have his life lost?”
Heaven is the highest wealth God uses to bless his children. When Peter asked Jesus in Lk 18:28, “Look, we have left everything and followed you, what will be our reward?” And Jesus told them in Mk 10:29, “Anyone who leaves home, brothers, sisters, or mother, or father, or children or fields for me and for the Gospel, will receive much more in this present age. Jesus even added the highest wealth in Matt 19:29, ” They will receive eternal life. ”
Dearest, let us be careful with the things of this world. Many have killed themselves because of money, land, women, marriages, cars, political positions, phones, etc. Let us go back to God, and recognize that He is the source of our wealth, as St Paul says in 1 Cor. 15:10, that, “whatever I am today is by God’s grace.”
Dearest in Christ, the Church enjoins us to remain focused on our quest for heaven. It is a call to live a Christ centered life. We are urged to focus our attention on the heavenly realities more than on the earthly shadows.
May God give us the grace to control ourselves with the things of the world, and be contented with the little we have, and bless us with the heavenly glories and wealth, through Christ our Lord, Amen.
Happy Eighteenth Sunday!
I Wish You The Divine Providence!
God Bless Your New Week!
Rev. Fr. Edward Onwueme E.