Today’s Thoughts: All of our readings today seem to focus on the same thing but in different ways. Our first reading from the Book of Ecclesiastes opens with “Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” (Ecc 1:2) Now Qoheleth seems to be a collective name rather than a single person or at least means “assembler” (of students, listeners) or “collector” (of wisdom sayings). The figure is a representative of the wisdom community. expressing the community’s wisdom.
Vanity for the writer is more like mist or smoke rather than the falseness of glamour. Vanity is like the early morning mist which is gone as soon as the sun hit it. Or a puff of smoke the lingers for a moment then disappears. In today’s passage the community is wondering what life is really all about? The wise and skilled person knows that the things of this life are fleeting.
A person labors, frets and sweats and for what? As with mist and smoke, everything vanishes eventually. Remember, these are words inspired by the communal voices of the human heart which desires solidity, permanence, and security. For all the laboring, holding fast, nothing seems to last. It does sound like the familiar saying, “Don’t sweat the small stuff and everything is the small stuff.”
St. Paul in his Letter to the Colossians reminds the community that they have been created anew in Christ so their focus should not be on the world but on God. Christ needs to be the center of their life.
Finally, in today’s Gospel using a parable Jesus echo’s Qoheleth and prepares the way for St. Paul. In a simple story Jesus reminds us that, “You cannot take it with you. – You don’t ever see a U-Haul behind a hearse!” Except this summer someone tag me on Facebook, and it was a video clip of the U-Haul behind a hearse! The Facebook post withstanding you can’t take it with you and you never know when life in this world will end, just ask the people of El Paso and Dayton!
The point of our readings is where is our focus? Who or what is the center of our life? If we believe, if we have wisdom, if we don’t want our labors to be in vain, if we are followers, disciples of Jesus then our focus, our center, always needs to be on God. When we do good work like the farmer in our Gospel today, we don’t lock it away and then sit back and eat, drink and be merry. We invest it in our world, the people around us and our relationship with God. Remember each time you received Holy Communion God demands your life of you!
Have a blessed and holy Sunday everyone!
Fr. Paul R. Fagan, C.P. "Preacher on the Run"
Just a few thoughts to help you on your journey through life...let me know from time to time what you think...