YOU MUST LOOK FOR THE THINGS THAT ARE IN HEAVEN WHERE CHRIST IS
(Eighteenth Sunday Year C, August 04, 2019)
The book of Ecclesiastes from which our First Reading is taken is from the larger literary form in the Hebrew Scriptures known as Wisdom Literature from which we get also, Proverbs, Song of Songs and other familiar books. The Church in the liturgy of today 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. Today we are also 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.
To meditate on the vanities of things of this world will help us to put our priorities right and work on the things that last-the heavenly realities. The first reading of this Sunday begins with a warning: “Vanity, vanity, the preacher says vanity…!” It strikes a reality that most of us have neglected. However, one day each one of us will come to terms with it.
The Preacher calls us to remember God in all we do. He reminds us that there will be an ultimate end to all created things. He also reminds us that the ultimate goal here on earth is to walk our way straight to heaven. The second reading hits the nail on its head. In it, St. Paul clearly differentiates true life, that is a life lived in Christ, from a life lived outside Christ. Without mincing words, he reminds us that we must be heaven bound where Christ is everything. Hence, Paul tells us: “Kill everything in you that belongs to only earthly life, fornication, impurity, guilty passion, evil desires, greed, false gods, and never tell each other lies.”
This call to “kill everything evil” is simply a call to transform our lives, a call to purity of life, and call to remain steadfast. Many Christians have become so attached to the things of this world that we hardly reflect about heaven any more. This is because it has become an ancient tale told by the ignorant, and believed by fools. What St. Paul advocates here is a Christ-centered life.
That is, a life well lived on earth. A life that will qualify us for the heavenly banquet. In today’s gospel, Jesus speaks to us as He did to the man from the crowd: “Watch out and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for a man’s life is not made more secure by what he owns…”
The pursuit of wealth and the pleasures of this world have so blinded us to the reality that we are pilgrims here on earth. 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! Concerning avarice, Thomas Aquinas says: “Temporal goods are subject to man, that he may use them according to his needs, not that he should make them his main purpose, or be overly anxious about them.”
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.” Finally, let us fix our eyes and minds on heavenly things, and not only on the vain things of this earth.
There is a saying that: “Real men and women love Jesus and not riches!” Indeed, real men and women are those who in spite of their fame, wealth, achievements, etc, love Jesus above all things.
Let Us Pray: Lord Jesus, help us to do your will always and to seek you above the material things of this life. May heaven be our reward. Amen.