Homily for the 18th Sunday of the year C in ordinary time By Fr. Jude Ifezime, C.S.Sp
Today is the 18th Sunday of the year C in ordinary time. The readings of today gives us a new understanding and meaning about wealth and riches. In the 1st reading, the book of Ecclesiastes talks about vanity of vanities, all is vanity. Simply saying to you and I that we have to understand the fact that whatever we have as wealth and riches should not enslave us, but rather be detached from the wealth God has given us. Detachment does not mean that wealth in itself is evil, it does not mean that wealth is bad, it simply means that we have to learn to understand the fact that even though we are wealthy, our wealth should not be limited to just us, our family and friends.
This brings to mind a story I was told some time ago, about a man who bought a new Hilux pickup van. When he was alive, he was very attached the car. Nobody goes ‘close’ to the pickup, he drives the car alone and do the washing himself also. Along the line, the man died and the children started making use of the car. The pickup was used to convey different things and used in a way that their father never did while he was alive. Going through the readings of today, I was just wondering, if their father where to be alive and see how the children were using the car, how would he have felt? This is a car that was very dear to him and he handled with a lot of care, but when he died he could not go with it. Dear friends in Christ, it is the same for you and I today.
St. Paul makes it explicitly clear that we have to learn to aspire to work for things that transcend the here and now, things in Heaven. As people of God and children of God, we are called to work for things that will endure, things that will stand the test of time and these are things that has to do with the divine, things that have to do with the spirit, things that have to do with Heaven. That is why, dear friends in Christ, even as we make wealth, let us learn to distribute it to the glory of God, in such a way that even those who do not have and those we do not know, when they encounter us they experience the blessings of God. Let our riches, our wealth become answered prayers to those who do not have. God blesses us with gifts, riches and wealth, not because we are the most hard working, but simply out of his love, mercy and grace. That is why we have to strive like Jesus points out in today’s gospel reading, to ensure that our quest at all times should be towards righteousness and holiness of life. Covetousness does not lead us to eternal life, covetousness does not lead us to becoming better children of God or better people.
Thus, St. Paul in his letter to the Colossians, in today’s 2nd reading helps us to strike a balance, as people of God and as children of God. If our eyes are set on heaven, on things of the spirit, it becomes easier for us to balance the material things around us. Even when we have them, we are able to detach ourselves from them. We have to learn to look beyond the material things that God has blessed us with, and as long as we do that, we can be rest assured that we will continually see ourselves fulfilling Gods desire in our lives and in our world.
My brothers and sisters in Christ, we are people of God, we are the people of the resurrection who look forward to attaining eternal life. Thus, let us learn to be detached from the wealth that God has given us, from the gifts he has given us, from the riches he has given us and strive after heaven and use these gifts in accordance with Gods will for us. In such a way that the gifts God has given us will not stand against us at the end of time, but rather plead our course. We pray on this 18th Sunday of the year that God will grant us the graces we need to be detached from the blessings he has blessed us with and the gifts he has given us, so that at the end of time, we will be given the crown of unfading glory. Peace be with you! Amen!