Pax et Bonum!
We have all known the experience before of going away on a long journey or trip, and having to decide what to take with you, and what to leave behind. Everybody wants where they are going, to be comfortable. And I suppose that all of us want to feel at home wherever we are traveling to. And yet, we know, when we’re taking a trip, you can’t take home with you. There is no way that you pack and carry everything with you from home. That’s not traveling. That’s called moving. When we travel, most of us like to travel light. Ask anybody who’s hauled more than one suitcase around busy airports, or train stations, or even on a bus, and they’ll tell you how important it is to travel light. Traveling today can be exhausting in itself, but if you couple it with carrying a bunch of stuff with you, it can be much worse. Any time I think about people who travel with a lot of stuff, I am reminded of Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III from Gilligan’s Island. Now, I know I am dating myself here, but there are several generations of us who grew up watching the reruns of Gilligan’s Island. If you don’t know what I am talking about, look up Gilligan’s Island on YouTube. It was a very cool show, especially if you were a kid in the sixties or seventies. Gilligan’s Island was the story of seven people who went to take a three-hour tour on a little boat, and ended up ship-wrecked on a deserted island for years. But two of the most interesting people who were among this little group, was the only married couple, Mr. and Mrs. Thurston Howell III, the millionaire and his wife. Now purportedly Mr. and Mrs. Howell had more money than God. But what were they doing on that little charter boat with the Skipper and Gilligan? Why didn’t they just buy a yacht of their own or something? But the other great mystery about the Howell’s, was why in the world did they bring all of those trunks of stuff along for a three-hour tour? Did you ever wonder that? What was wrong with those people? People ask me all the time about the mystery of the Holy Trinity or the Incarnation, and I can’t begin to deal with those mysteries, all because in my brain I’m still trying to figure out why Mr. and Mrs. Howell were on the S.S. Minnow and why they brought all that stuff with them! It’s too much. Too much!
Today we come to Mass, and Jesus is talking to us about our “stuff”. To get us ready for Jesus’ words in the Gospel, we are given the beginning of Ecclesiastes for our First Reading, where God reminds us that all we labor for, all we worry about, all that drives us crazy at night when we should be getting some rest, is vanity. All things are vanity. These are hard words to hear and even harder words to acknowledge as the truth. Qoheleth is right.
In the Gospel, Jesus tells us the parable of the rich man, who was so rich that he had to build bigger buildings to hold all of his ever-growing riches. That’s rich! This guy’s got it made. He is set for life, and is just going to sit back and keep getting richer. He thinks he’s got it made. Let’s just call him, Thurston Howell III. But God has other plans. God says to the rich man, “You fool! This night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?” It is as though the Lord is reminding us, that there are no U-Haul trailers behind hearses. We can’t take anything with us when we go except the good that we have done and the bad that we have done, our sins. Again, those are hard words to hear!
My brothers and sisters, we too are on a journey, all of us! We are traveling through this world and this life, on our way home to Heaven. This is NOT home. We’ve got to get this right. We are passing through. We can’t get too attached to the things of this world because one day soon, we are not going to have them. Our money, our things, our cars, our houses, our toys – a hundred years from now they won’t mean a thing to any of us. Think about that. All those things that we worry about, and fret over, and spend our money on, are not going to matter. A hundred years, in the perspective of eternity, is like the blink of an eye! We’ve got to get our priorities right. And we’ve got to do it now, before it is too late.
We’ve got to set our hearts and our minds on those things that are going to matter in eternity. That’s what we should be worried about. May we stay focused on what really matters as we pass through this world, to get to the world that lasts forever, to our real home! And may we never get bogged down with our stuff, along the way! May you travel light so that you will be ready for Heaven!
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!