Eighteenth Sunday of Ordinary Time • Year C

Christopher J. Drennen, O.S.A.
Mavlern Preparatory School
Malvern, Pennsylvania

Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23
Ps 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
Col 3:1-5, 9-11
Lk 12:13-21

A very rich person was once asked how much more was needed to be truly satisfied. After a little reflection the rich person said, “Just a little bit more.”

There would always be a want for a little bit more for such a person. But rather than judge, we could ask ourselves the question and we might come to the same attitude. How much is enough? By the world’s standards there are never enough material items. For the man in the Gospel today we can see that there was never enough in material wealth. As Qoheleth says in the first reading it is all Vanity. To think we can find happiness in material things alone and in our ability to accumulate is pure vanity. What he was missing was the only thing that can fill us up: the presence of God.

It is hard to ignite the material world. We need it. We need to have enough food, shelter and clothing to be safe and secure. Without that we live in fear of starvation and sickness. That is not what God wants for anyone. Human suffering is not part of God’s plan. He wants our happiness in this world as much as he wants it for the Kingdom of Heaven. The difference is that God wants us to trust in his power and love and not think we could do it alone.

There are some talented gifted people who have accomplished great things in this world, but if their spirit is not filled with the grace of God they can remain fundamentally unhappy and ultimately frustrated because they never have the “enough” that can only come through God.

The Gospel story reminds us that “we can’t take it with us.” Someday we will have to leave this world behind. What will become of us if we have spent our lives being filled with the grace and life of God? For me that is what salvation is all about. We are saved from the power of greed and sin. We are saved from the frustrations of our material journeys. We are saved for eternal life.

Eternal life begins when we accept the power of God into our lives. Our baptisms celebrate that we have a power over sin and death. Salvation begins when we die to the things of this world and live in the spirit of Jesus Christ. We can celebrate salvation everytime we say “No” to our own ambitions and accept the plan that God has prepared for us. That is when we give up on vain hopes and experience the joy that God wants for us.

The choice is ours. We still have free will. Choose life. Let go of the vanities of things and accept the power of Christ. That is our true treasure and it will lead us to eternal life.