Today’s readings deal with vanity and materialism.
In the first reading, we read how it is vain to labor for things of the world. What does it profit for someone to work hard under the Sun and not focus on what is truly important? All of this person’s life was based on anxiety on what will happen next and sadness. He or she is not at rest thinking of tomorrow. While work is important in this world, we must not forget the work of perfecting our lives in Christ Jesus (Philippians 2:12). Life is not supposed about increasing material wealth and ignoring God (Matthew 6:24). Our lives on this world are short, therefore, we should not plan on a long stay by gathering riches (James 4:14, Psalm 39:5). If we hear God’s voice, we must not harden our heart as the Psalm for today tells us. God controls our existence. If He calls us back to dust, we will return (Genesis 3:19). We can plan our lives to the minute, but God can take it all away whenever He wants (Proverbs 16:9). Time is nothing to God. Thousands of years are like a watch in the night, we are told. To us, time seems forever.
It seems like our enemy at times when we feel that there is just not enough of it. This is because we forget that God is the author of our existence. We must ask God to teach us to number our days aright, or plan our lives in the way we must in order to be with Him. We must listen to His voice always. In the second reading, we are reminded to seek what is above. If we are part of Christ. If we were baptized into the body of Christ, then we must seek what is above and follow the vows we made. We must think of what is above and not on earth. Earth will pass (Matthew 24:35). Even scientists tell us that our world and even our Sun have their expiration dates. Therefore, we must not dwell on life thinking that earth is our final destination. We died with Christ to the world and must live for Him (Romans 6:8). All things that plague us must be put to death: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, greed etc. We must stop lying to one another and offending one another. A new self in Christ must be put on (Ephesians 4:24).
Finally in the Gospel, someone asks Jesus about an inheritance and Jesus replies that one must guard against greed and remember that one’s life does not consist of possessions. Then Jesus tells the parable of a rich man who wished to stored all of his goods believing that he would enjoy them. However, when God calls him home, then he cannot take his possessions with him Christ reminds us that we must not store up treasures on earth for ourselves. We must not be rich in the things of this world and not rich in what matters to God. This world shall pass. Gathering up wealth just for the sake of gathering it is not beneficial to anyone. Having money and goods is not evil. What makes it evil is when we worship them and use them to define ourselves and others (1 Timothy 6:10). I remember going to public school and being told that I must get an education in order to get a good paying job and live comfortably.
This is not the reason why we must get an education. Moreover, getting a job is not supposed to be about obtaining wealth as if that is all life is supposed to be about. Money and material things will not bring happiness. How many times do we read or hear about actors and singers resorting to drug use in order to escape life? These people have it all in the eyes of the world. They have money, power, fans and so on, yet they are unhappy. This is because material wealth can be a huge burden on a human person. Moreover, if he or she sees this wealth as a definition of him or herself, then this will bring about problems. Instead, we should store up riches in God. In other words, we should focus on obtaining grace and not the things of this world. May Jesus be praised.
In light of today’s readings, please consider making a donation or becoming a benefactor to help me spread the Gospel to others using man’s technologies. Do not store up treasures on earth but use some of it to help spread the Gospel in today’s technological age, please donate at: www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus. ∞
Two youths Adel Kermiche and an unnamed one who pledged allegiance to radical Islamic group ISIS entered a Catholic Church in Normandy and slit the throat of 84 year old Father Jacques Hamel and injured a nun. The interrupted the 9 AM Mass and took participants hostage for an hour. Father Jacques Hamel was made to kneel before the altar. He tried to defend himself according to a nun who gave her witness account before he was killed. The youths then said something in Arabic around the altar before they were shot dead by the authorities.
In a statement, archbishop Dominique Lebrun, of Rouen stated, “I cry out to God, with all men of good will. And I invite all non-believers to unite with this cry. The Catholic Church has no other arms besides prayer and fraternity between men.”
This attack shows that ISIS is active and will target churches without fear. More needs to be done to prevent future attacks. Fr. Jacques Hamel died a martyr, in my opinion. May he rest in peace.
This is Adel Kermiche who slit the priest’s throat. He was only 19 and brainwashed by radical fundamentalism. More needs to be done to prevent youth like Adel from becoming indoctrinated with hate and evil. As Catholics, we are called to forgive our enemies and pray for those who persecute us. We are not enemies with Islam. Islam is not the problem.
In the first reading, we read of Abraham pleading for God not to destroy the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. The people of these cities were too far gone. They practiced homosexuality, were unhospitable to others and were wicked (Ezekiel 16:48-50, Jude 7) . There was no hope for these people. Nevertheless, upon learning of the justice God was going to impose on them, Abraham did his best to convince God not to follow through. He keeps asking God that if said number of people were innocent, would that be enough to stop the wrath of God. God replies that He would spare the whole place for their sake. We must be like Abraham and plead for others, especially sinners (James 5:16). Whether or not God will turn away His wrath from them is another story, but God is merciful (Psalm 103:8). God hears us when we call out to Him just as today’s Psalm tells us We must thank Him always. In Him, we have our being and existence (Acts 17:28). God answers prayers. He may not answer them in the way we expect, but He does answer them. God gives us what we need, as opposed to what we want. Only God knows us and what consequences our actions and thoughts will have. He knows what is best. This is why Christ died for us. He released us from the bonds of death and sin. We read in the second reading how we are buried with Christ in baptism. In baptism, we die to the world, so to speak (Romans 6:11, Colossians 2:20). We live in it, but are not of it. We put up with the shenanigans of the world while looking up to Christ on the cross. Christ took all that holds us back from holiness and nailed it to the cross. He redeemed us and is preparing a place for those of us who fight the good fight and do not let the world force us to look back like Lot’s wife or the man with the plow who looked back (Luke 9:62, Genesis 19:26).
Finally, in the Gospel, we read of Jesus teaching us how to pray. This is one of my favorite passages. Here we have God teaching us how to pray. If that does not ring of awesome, then I do not know what does. Jesus teaches us the Lord’s prayer. He shows us to call God “Our Father.” He reminds us that God is holy and that all things come from Him. We rely on God for even our daily bread. This is our daily sustenance which I see as the Holy Eucharist. Next, Jesus reminds us to be compassionate and merciful to others. He shares a story of a friend who asks another friend for food to entertain another friend. The friend who he knocks at the door of gets upset and refuses to offer him bread merely on their friendship, but on the other friend’s persistence. We must do things for the right reason and not feel pressured to do it. If I give a homeless person food, I must do so because I want to sincerely help this person and not to “win points” with God. The act must be based on love, not my own personal gains.
God will provide. Whoever asks will receive and whoever seeks will find Again, this does not mean God is a genie in a magical bottle granting wishes. He will give us what we need, not what we want most of the time. Many atheists use this passage to attack God claiming that God does not answer prayers or does not give what people pray for. They have even used it against me regarding my gofundme page. They tell me to pray for money and not wait for generous people to donate because God will give to whoever asks. They say this with sarcasm of course. However, we can see how ignorant they are in this regard. They do not understand the purpose of prayer Let us continue to do good and not give a snake to those who ask for fish or a scorpion to those who ask for an egg. Let us not be wicked like the people of Sodom and Gomorrah. God will reward us. Let us be merciful. May Jesus Christ be praised.
Please donate at www.gofundme.com/sacerdotus to help me pay for the bills associated with this domain and others, as well as, to help expand this work to reach even more people.