To Be Rich in God

Post Date: July 25, 2022
Author: Katy Mauer Cabrera

A Reflection on the Readings for the Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time

Reading I: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Responsorial Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
Reading II: Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Responsorial Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17
Gospel: Luke 12:13-2

You’re so vain. I bet you think this blog is about you, don’t you? Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

The first chapter of Ecclesiastes begins with the preacher proclaiming, “[v]anity of vanities…all is vanity.” Eccl 1:2. The preacher is struggling with his dissatisfaction in created things, and there being “nothing new under the sun.” It’s all in vain for him.  

On the contrary, I must confess that there are so many times I get excited about a new product (or pen) I see on the internet that I simply must have. I can’t get it out of my head. For me, it’s not purses, shoes or jewelry that my husband worries about me purchasing. It’s gadgets. My most recent desire is a robotic window cleaner that cleans your windows for you. Yup, I know it will be life-changing if I get this amazing tool. I’ll stand in awe as I watch it move across the windows all by itself. It will bring me joy, perhaps for a few weeks. Yet, I know, and God knows, the joy will dissipate. I’ll find a place to store it, out of reach of the kids’ curious hands, and eventually, it will fade into the background along with the Roomba, touch lights, electric candles, and all manner of gadgets that I just had to have.  

In Luke’s gospel, Jesus tells the parable of the rich man who stored up all his earthly possessions in barns for himself to enjoy for the rest of his life. His harvest was so large that he had to tear down his old barns and build new, larger ones to contain it. The rich man tells himself, “…you have ample goods…for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.” Lk 12:19. God quickly informs the rich man that this night on earth will be his last, and all the things the rich man has made it his mission to store up… “whose will they be?” Lk 12:20.

All the man’s efforts to make himself rich were all for vanity and all in vain, as his hoarding sought only to serve himself, and his efforts would certainly not benefit him beyond this life. So tragically short-sighted was this man.  

So. How do we store up treasure in Heaven and be “rich toward God?” Lk 12:21. Paul instructs the Colossians to “set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth.” Col. 3:2. He also tells them to “[p]ut to death…what is earthly in you: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire and covetousness, which is idolatry.” Col 3:5

And there it is. Set your sights on Heaven and live accordingly. However, I so often feel like the rich man. When I lose sight of my end goal – Heaven – and get caught up in what I think I need to do to make life here on earth easier for myself. And when I forget that this life on earth is temporary, many other things seem to follow. I’m prone to gossip, want to control my future, and want what others have, to name just a few. But. When I remember who I really am, a daughter of the King, and where I am meant to go (Heaven, I pray), I can set my mind on what is above, as Paul says, and really live. To live a life rich in God and not one in vain – that is what I want. And to experience the joy that lasts longer than the next novel product on the market. 

Author: Katy Cabrera Mauer

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