Sunday, 4 August 2013 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Scripture Reflection)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Brothers and sisters in Christ, our Lord today warns us against the sin of greed, the sin of pride, and the sin of selfishness. Especially in the aimless accumulation of wealth and accumulation of possessions, that we lose sight of the true aim in our life, that is our Lord and God. Wealth and accumulation are well-known sources of temptations that can divert us and our attention away from the path to salvation, that is the path to God.

The Lord also reminded us that we are mortals, mortals because of the original sins of our ancestors, and we are dust, because we are created from dust. Yet, though we are dust, we have life in us because the Lord breathed into us the breath of life, that is the Spirit of life. Yet, we still have limit in our lives in this world. Our lives are temporary, and everyone will eventually meet the end of their respective lives, at the appointed time that God has for all of us.

That is why, the Lord always stresses the importance of being ever vigilant in our lives, to always lead a righteous and upright life, filled with love and obedience to the will of God. We may be mortal and our lives may be short, but if we put our faith and complete trust in God, we will be immortals! Why? That is because the Lord had promised all of us salvation through His Son, and with the Risen Lord Jesus, we too will be reborn to a new life, and receive at the end of our earthly lives, new and eternal life in the glory and bliss of God’s heavenly kingdom.

Yes, that is our inheritance, brothers and sisters in Christ, the true inheritance that we will receive from the Lord, that He had promised us, and Christ His Son had made available to all of us through His death and resurrection from the dead. It is important that we seek the true treasure and not false treasures of the world. Seek what brings us true happiness, the true happiness that only God can give.

We have to choose brothers and sisters, just because we cannot serve two masters as Christ had made it clear to His disciples, we too have to choose between the wealth of the world, and the eternal wealth of the Lord. It does not mean that one is entirely in opposition to the other though. It does not mean that we have to impoverish ourselves of one while we seek the other. What is important is, that we know that ultimately, the wealth and possessions of this world serve only a temporary purpose, bring only a temporary satisfaction, and only temporary pleasure and happiness, while the wealth that we have in God is eternal, and is perfectly and completely satisfying to all of us.

Yes, we can be both rich in this world and in the world after, that is in the eyes of man, and in the eyes of God. That is if we are able to wisely use whatever had been given to us, and look beyond the temptations of the evil one and the allure of wealth, and also to be able to look beyond ourselves and our own desires and needs, to see the true use and function of the wealth and possessions we have received in this world.

We must never ever have the mentality of selfishness in ourselves, and only thinking about our own benefits and happiness, especially at the expense of others, which usually happen when we begin to put our own interests first. We must not be like the rich man who wasted his time in this world worrying about his own future and thus accumulated much wealth which he stored in barns and storage spaces, that he would, in his mind, think that he has a secure and prosperous future to be spent in happiness.

Yes, I want to again stress of our own mortality and the fragility of our own lives. It is unwise to spend so much time worrying about the future and then close ourselves from any concerns beside concerns for ourselves. We do not know when our death will be, nor in what way our death will come to us. It will come to us whenever we are most unprepared, just as the Second Coming of Christ will be. The time is appointed by the Lord, and we have no way to know about it.

Many of us are obsessed with maintaining our beauty, our lives and attempting to even make it better whenever possible. Plastic surgery, and even genetic manipulations to ensure that we can live longer and live more prosperously, gaining more fame through beauty and our possessions. Yet what do these all do? These things will not ensure our beauty nor our prosperity forever. If death knocks at our door tomorrow, despite all these things that we do, would they not all be wasted?

Much more resources should have been allocated to other, better purposes in our lives. It is not that we cannot indulge ourselves or bring happiness to ourselves, but we must never be consumed by our search for such wealth or happiness, that we forget about everything else, about those beloved to us, about God, and about everyone around us who needs us, who needs our love, care, and compassion.

Our wealth in this world is also not permanent. Many things may happen that can wipe out all of our hard-earned savings and ‘happiness’ in an instant, and after that a lifetime of work may be wasted. Earthquakes, tsunamis, tornadoes, floods, fires, and many other natural calamities that may happen anytime in our world unexpectedly, will wipe out most of our hard work if not all in much shorter time than that required to gather them.

And yes, death. What would those goods stored in barns and storages do if we die at the time appointed for us to die? Will they be able to provide anything for us in the afterlife? Or perhaps help us to climb from hell into paradise? No, they have not such power. Only God has such power, that is through Christ His Son, whose death had provided us all with a means to reach the true reward, that is everlasting life.

Seek not to build wealth that can be destroyed or wealth that can be stolen or disappear any moment, with or without our knowledge. Seek not wealth or pleasure that are short-lived and temporary, and disappear as quickly as the fleeting motion of our short, mortal lives on earth. Seek rather the eternal wealth and treasure in God, in heaven, that will never disappear, that will never expire, and that will never be destroyed. Let us all, while we still have the time, begin and continue to build our treasury in heaven, filling up with the wealth of our true treasure, that is love.

Brothers and sisters in Christ, let us follow the advice of the Lord, and begin from today, to open the storage of the things we have kept only for ourselves, and offer them to everyone in need. No, I am not just talking about money, wealth, or material possessions. Most important of all treasures is love itself, which God has placed in all of us, but we like to lock it deep within our hearts, that it does not become visible or evident. The same happens to faith and hope.

As long as we remain shut to the world and to the love of God and the plight of others, our wealth in God will never grow, because we never make use the gifts that God had given us and bless us with, that is in His Holy Spirit. If we exercise the faith, the hope, and the love He had given all of us through the Spirit, it will grow and multiply, thirty, sixty, hundredfold and more. Let us begin from today, if we have not done so, to invest in the building of our wealth in heaven, that when we are called back to God, He will truly see us as wealthy in His eyes. Not the wealth of the world, but the true and undiminished wealth of love.

May the Lord inflame in us the fire of His love, and may He push us to go out and render our service to others who are in need of our help and our love. May we be able to share our love with one another, as fellow children of God who loves us. God bless us all, always and forevermore. Amen.

Sunday, 4 August 2013 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Gospel Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Luke 12 : 13-21

Someone in the crowd spoke to Jesus, “Master, tell my brother to share with me the family inheritance.” He replied, “My friend, who has appointed Me as your judge or your attorney?” Then Jesus said to the people, “Be on your guard and avoid every kind of greed, for even though you have many possessions, it is not that which gives you life.”

And Jesus continued with this story, “There was a rich man, and his land had produced a good harvest. He thought, ‘What shall I do, for I am short of room to store my harvest? Alright, I know what I shall do : I will pull down my barns and I will build bigger ones, to store all this grain, which is my wealth. Then I will say to myself : My friend, you have a lot of good things put by for many years. Rest, eat, drink, and enjoy yourself.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life will be taken from you. Tell me who shall get all you have put aside?’

This is the lot of the one who stores up riches for himself and is not wealthy in the eyes of God.”

Sunday, 4 August 2013 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Second Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Colossians 3 : 1-5, 9-11

So them, if you are risen with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things that are above, not on earthly things. For you have died and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, reveals Himself, you also will be revealed with Him in Glory.

Therefore, put to death what is earthly in your life, that is immorality, impurity, inordinate passions, wicked desires, and greed which is a way of worshipping idols.

Do not lie to one another. You have been stripped of the old self and its way of thinking to put on the new, which is being renewed and is to reach perfect knowledge and the likeness of its creator. There is no room for distinction between Greek of Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, foreigner, slave or free, but Christ is all and in all.

Sunday, 4 August 2013 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (Psalm)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Psalm 89 : 3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14 and 17

You turn humans back to dust, saying, “Return, o mortals!” A thousand years in Your sight are like a day that has passed, or like a watch in the night.

You sow them in their time, at dawn they peep out. In the morning they blossom, but the flower fades and withers in the evening.

So make us know the shortness of our life, that we may gain wisdom of heart. How long will You be angry, o Lord? Have mercy on Your servant.

Fill us at daybreak with Your goodness, that we may be glad all our days. May the sweetness of the Lord be upon us; may He prosper the work of our hands.

Sunday, 4 August 2013 : 18th Sunday of Ordinary Time (First Reading)

Liturgical Colour : Green

Ecclesiastes 1 : 2 and Ecclesiastes 2 : 21-23

All is meaningless – says the Teacher – meaningless, meaningless!

For here was a man who toiled in all wisdom, knowledge, and skill and he must leave all to someone who has not worked for it. This is meaningless and a great misfortune. For what profit is there for a man in all his work and heartsearching under the sun? All his days bring sorrow, his work grief; he has not, moreover, peaceful rest at night : that too is meaningless.

My Prayer Intention for Sunday, 4 August 2013

1. For all of us. That we will always be reminded that our lives in this world are short, and the times and happiness that we have in our world is temporary. That we may use whatever time given to us in this world to the fullest, to the greatest potential, in serving the Lord and our fellow brethren, with love, compassion, and dedication. May we focus on seeking true happiness and joy in the Lord, and in the happiness and joy of our brothers and sisters, that we may share that happiness and joy with one another.

2. For people working in financial institutions and money-related careers. That they will not lose sight of their true goal in life, that is the Lord and His love, and that they will not succumb to the temptation of money and wealth, remaining faithful to their true vocation in life. May they be able to discern that the true objectives of their career is to make a difference in the lives of others through their own work in its various ways, and not to seek to increase their own personal wealth, especially not in the expense of others.

3. For our leaders and those in positions of power. That they will use their power and the authority entrusted to them by us and by the Lord with full sense of responsibility and clear understanding. That they will first seek to serve others and look for their own good before thinking about their own self. May our leaders be dedicated and loving leaders and people of justice, integrity, and love, who are dedicated to serving the people of God with zeal and commitment.

4. For all of us. That we will treasure all our loved ones, our families and friends, whom we had met in our lives, and those who had made a difference in our lives, in their own ways. May the Lord show us and open our eyes, that we still have those who love us, and we have the Lord Himself who loves us all the time, that we will begin to treasure this life we had been given, and give thanks to Him who had breathed the breath of life into us, mere dust made alive.

May the Lord accept our humble prayers, and may His saints and angels succour always in times of need, in our times of difficulties, reminding us always that the Lord is always with us, walking with us, and supporting us without ceasing. God be with us all and may His blessings and graces remain with us at all times. Amen.