Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21-23 Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11 Luke 12:13-21
There are all sorts of reverberations of these themes throughout the scriptures. Qoheleth (the “Preacher”) instructs us that, ultimately, everything of our life on earth is but an empty vanity when we are called from this life. Jesus shows us our true selves in the example of the man who expends all his energy to store his harvest to ensure the luxury of his future. Qoheleth, Paul, and Jesus are all of a like mind on this issue. We have been made in the image of our Creator, we believe that God’s creation is graced and good, but we need to keep this in perspective. For all creation and all creatures—humans included—will have naught for a destiny unless that destiny is joined to that of Christ. He preaches that we can be, indeed we must be, rich with treasure—but only the kind of treasure that truly matters to God.
“If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,” we hear this in Colossians 3:1. “Think of what is above” as well. Easy to comprehend. Good advice. Only common sense. But the ability to seek and think of what is above, Paul tells us, comes at a price. In order to have truly died so that our life of glory is with Christ in heaven, we must put to death all those things about our life “below” that impede our living for Christ and with Christ as our all in all. We cannot really seek and think about things above while we maintain the worst of our human passions, perpetuate our deceitfulness, and emphasize our differences. In this way we not only continue the lying to one another, but also lie to ourselves, and imagine that we can deceive God. Only in the stopping of this can we truly show forth our baptismal image: that of Christ, who is the image of the unseen God. Only then can we take off that old self and be that new creation, the image of our Creator fully restored in Christ.