What Truly Lasts

18th Sunday in Ordinary Time
By Fr. Chinnappan Pelavendran

Our God is a personal God who is concerned about each and every one of us and personally takes care of us. He is a benevolent Father caring for the needs of his children and planning a future for each one. The Bible presents God as a father who takes care of His children. His concern is beyond our understanding. The readings of today invite us to place our trust in God. We are invited to focus our attention on the heavenly realities more than on the earthly shadows.

Today we are also reminded that we are in a transitory world. This means that everything here changes. Everything passes. Hence, it is a call to make use of the things of this world prudently without losing our ultimate goal. Heaven is our goal. In heaven, nothing passes away.

The first reading of this Sunday begins with a warning, “Vanity, vanity,” the reading says, “vanity.” The author reminds us that there will be an ultimate end to all created things. This strikes a reality that most of us have neglected. However, one day each of us will come to terms with it. The author also calls us to remember God in all we do. And, he reminds us that the ultimate goal here on earth is to walk our way straight to heaven.

In the second reading, St. Paul advises the Colossian community that they must look for the things of heaven where Christ is. He wanted all thoughts to be centered on heavenly things, not on the things that are on earth. He reminded the Colossian community that in Baptism they have become new persons as they have been raised with Christ. There we find the perfect image of God in Jesus who is the perfect pattern of our life.

In today’s Gospel, in the parable of the foolish rich man, Jesus warns us against all types of greed, because greed takes our life’s focus away from God-away from serving and loving God and other people. Jesus says that God calls the greedy rich man a fool because the man thought he would not die soon and that he was not accountable for the way he used his riches. The rich man forgot the fact that his wealth had been lent to him by God for sharing with the needy. Jesus also warns us that our eternal life does not consist of earthly possessions. These we should share to gain eternal life.

We are invited to share our blessings with others, the parable of the rich fool gives us a warning as an invitation. It reminds us that our possessions are merely lent to us by God. And that we are accountable for their use. We must be generous in sharing our time, our treasure, and our talents in Christian stewardship. Even if we are financially poor, we may be blessed with intelligence, good will, a sense of humor, or the ability to console, encourage, inspire, support, and help others. God expects us to give our thanks to Him for all these blessings by sharing them with others for His glory.

Let us control our greed. Our greed takes different shapes and forms. For some, it may be the desire for the approval and praise of others, for some it may be an uncontrolled desire for power, control, or fame. For some still others, greed takes the form of excessive and sinful indulgence in eating, drinking, gambling, or drugs. Greed also turns our life away from God and away from loving and serving Him and other people. Greed directs all our energy and attention to fulfilling the self. We need to come out of ourselves and understand God and His creation, all the created things will pass away, but God never changes or passes away.

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