A HOMILY FOR THE EIGHTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME – CYCLE “C” – 7.31.16 – SMG
+ Pax et Bonum! Peace and goodness to you this day!
Perhaps the best example that we have to today, of what Jesus is talking about in the Parable of the Wealthy Landowner, is still found in agriculture and farming. You see, today, there are fewer and fewer small, family farms out there. They have been replaced with mega farms! These new super farms have thousands and thousands of acres. And today they are run, not by farming families, but by large corporations and very wealthy individuals, who don’t spend much time farming themselves, but who pay others to work the land for them. And how did we get to such a situation? In many cases, we got here by greed, and the insatiable appetites of some, to always have more! We know that this mindset goes far beyond agriculture and farming. We’ve got a lot of people today who are very good at storing up wealth for themselves, and always trying to acquire more. It is also worth noting that you don’t have to be rich to fall into this trap of greed. It can happen to any of us! It can even happen to the poor, who see their value even in what little they have, and who desperately want more, more money, more property, and more things. We can all be greedy! We even teach it to our kids at an early age. And you know where we learn it? The cereal aisle at the grocery store! It’s true! Just listen to kids in the cereal aisle at the grocery store, the next time you’re there. We build perfect, little greedy consumers right there in the cereal aisle.
Jesus’ Parable then is today addressed to all of us! Greed, and materialism, and the constant desire to have more and more and more, doesn’t work! It may make you rich in worldly things, but what Jesus is saying today is that that is a pretty short term investment to make. We can enjoy the things of this life for seventy, eighty, maybe even ninety years, but one day, one day every single one of us is going to die. We’re going to leave it all behind. All of our money, and all of our land, and all of our things, our toys! And where are we going to be then? What’s going to be left on that day? Let me assure you, Heaven is NOT going to care about how much land you owned, or how big your house was, or how many degrees you had, or what your golf score was. It’s not going to matter! What is going to matter? What is going to matter is how we loved and served God, and how we loved and took care of our brothers and sisters!
It is not a sin to have money, or to have things, or even to be rich. What gets us in trouble is when our things, our money, or our being rich becomes more important to us than God or our brothers and sisters, so much so that we aren’t sharing what we have with others. Look at the rich man from the Parable. The rich man’s sin is not that he has been very successful at farming. The rich man’s sin is that he has been very successful at farming, and instead of thinking what this allows him to do for others, or even for God, all he can think about is building and buying more for himself. That’s the problem. That’s the lie of our things and our money.
That’s the Vanity of vanities that Qoheleth is talking about in our First Reading today. It is a worthless and futile pursuit, that leads no where. Well, I guess that Qoheleth would say that they lead to Hell, so I guess that’s somewhere. Qoheleth asserts that nothing but sorry and grief come from our earthly labors. It is far better to store up for ourselves treasure in Heaven!
The landowner’s sudden demise in the Parable is a warning to all of us that we will face Judgement Day at a time when we least expect. Time is running out for all of us. There was a movie poster out several years ago that read, ”Good Morning! You are now one day closer to the end!” Do we remember that? More importantly, are we working for the things that last forever? Or are we working for the things that we will leave behind? We need to get clear about this now, so that all of us have something to take with us, when we leave this world!
In the cereal aisle we can learn all about greed and materialism, all for that plastic toy ring in the cereal box! But it is at church where we learn how to serve and love God, and how to serve and love our neighbor. Let us pay attention to the lesson. Let us pay heed to the warning. This is a very powerful parable!
+ And may God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!