Eighteenth Sunday of the Year
The Hebrew word for “Preacher” is “qahal” meaning one who addresses the congregation. In Greek it is translated as Ekklesia. Hence, the origin of the name given the author in the first reading this Sunday, the Book of Ecclesiastes.
People may have different expectation of a preacher. But the congregation in general would expect words of inspiration, motivation and encouragement of a preacher to help them dealing with their day-to-day lives. This would especially be true for those who, for one reason or another, are having the lowest point of their lives.
The preacher in the first reading sounds desperate, “Vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” The preacher poses to himself the insoluble problem of life. He could find no answer to his problem. He is looking for a solution in the wrong place, on this earth, where it is not found.
While we sympathize with this poor preacher who could see nothing but emptiness, folly and vanity for man in this life, we can’t completely blame him. The Jews of the Old Testament had no revelation, or almost none, concerning a future life. They hoped that they would live on after their earthly death in some way or another. They had, however, no clear idea of how would this be.
The fullness of the revelation,however, has been given to us by the Lord Jesus Christ. With the dawn of the New Testament era, Christ reveals to us that he is the Way, the Truth and the Life leading to the Father. He told us that there is a new world somewhere after our lives on earth is over. He taught us that our lives here on earth is but a journey towards the heavenly home with the Father.
Hence, we should not loss our focus. Like St. Paul taught in the the second reading, we must keep our eyes fixed on the Christ with whom we have been raised up to a new spiritual level and status. The Lord Jesus tells us in the Gospel that while we are in the world, we must not of it. We are to collect the necessary goods of this world by honest labour, and yet remain detach from them.
To possess but not to be possessed by the worldly riches, is an ideal to which our week human nature responds very reluctantly. Most of us resemble the foolish man described in the parable. Like him, we are so enmeshed and ensnared in our desire to collect good things for our earthly life. So often we forget that any moment we may have to leave this earth and all we posses in it.
The fate of the rich man in the parable need not and should not, be ours. The vanity of vanities perception of the preacher concerning life need not and should not, be ours. When we see the world in the light of God’s revelation, it is a gift of God to us, a most useful and necessary gift that would help us preparing for the new world somewhere, the eternal promised land.
By, Fr. Wilfred