Homily for Sunday, August 1, 2010

Dear Parishioners,

“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.” (Lk 12:15)

  Our  Lord  exhorts  us  to  be  vigilant  against  our  tendency towards greed.  St. Paul, in our second reading from Colossians also advises us: “If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God” (Col. 3:1).  Many  may  not  realize  that  these  readings,  especially  the  Gospel, speak to the tenth commandment: “You shall not covet…anything that is your neighbor’s…you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field or his manservant or his maidservant or his ox or anything that is your neighbor’s” (Exodus 20:17; Deut 5:21).

  The  catechism,  especially paragraph CCC2536,  says: “The tenth commandment forbids greed and the desire to amass earthly goods without limit. It forbids avarice arising from a passion for riches and their attendant power. It also forbids the desire to commit injustice by harming our neighbor in his temporal goods: “When the law says ‘you shall not covet’, these words mean that we should banish our desires for whatever does not belong to us. Our thirst for another’s goods is immense, infinite, never quenched. Thus it is written ‘He who loves money never has money enough’.” (Roman Catechism III, 37; cf. Sirach 5:8)

  God’s  wisdom  instructs  us  further.   In  the  book  of Proverbs, it says: “in his riches man lacks wisdom.”  Many of us believe  it  is a wise and prudent  thing  to  save  for a  retirement  fund, and  so  it  is.   But God’s wisdom today  also  reminds us  to  invest  in true and lasting wealth.  What I mean is that we do not always realize that our days are numbered.  We live our lives as if there will always be “time  later”  to do  the  things our crammed schedules  force us  to put off.  “We can always make it up to our loved ones tomorrow or next weekend or during vacation or after  this project,” we say.   But the gospel makes clear that there is a limit to our time here on earth. Like the rich farmer who was so self-centered and so self-sufficient, we shut ourselves off  from  life’s most enriching moments.   What  is really a little frightening about this is that it can happen to us without our realizing it is happening.

  Sisters and brothers,  let us heed our Lord’s warnings  to us and seek  the  true and  lasting happiness of becoming “rich in what matters to God” (Lk 12:21).     “Faith,”  someone  once  said,  “is  the constant awareness  that  life  is  a  journey of discovery of  the holy  in our midst, as we make our way to God’s eternal dwelling place.”

Peace,
Father Mike
SaintJohnChurchMiddletown.com

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