Daily Gospel
Daily Scripture Analysis

Daily Gospel

Eighteenth Sunday in the Ordinary TimeC

Sunday of the 18 OTC

 

Readings: Ecc 1:2; 2:21-23; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21.

 

1/ Reading I: RSV Ecclesiastes 1:2 Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. 2:21 because sometimes a man who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by a man who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22 What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun? 23 For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest. This also is vanity.

 

2/ Reading II: RSV Colossians 3:1 If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2 Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. 3 For you have died, and your life is hid with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. 5 Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 9 Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off the old nature with its practices 10 and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. 11 Here there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all, and in all.

 

3/ Gospel: RSV Luke 12:13 One of the multitude said to him, "Teacher, bid my brother divide the inheritance with me." 14 But he said to him, "Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?" 15 And he said to them, "Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions." 16 And he told them a parable, saying, "The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; 17 and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' 18 And he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19 And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.' 20 But God said to him, `Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' 21 So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God."



I. THEME: Living this life for the ultimate purpose 

 

            The question, “What do people live this life for?” is an important question; but it isn’t easy to find a true answer. Many people think to work for money because when they have lots of money, they can enjoy life, buying whatever they want to. This kind of people shall find all possible ways to earn and to hoard up material things. Some people think even they have lots of money, they shall also be died and leave their belongings for others, so they only work enough to earn the living, the rest of time they find quiet place to learn about God and to help others. Still some people think they must leave their name for next generation, so they spent time to study to earn all kinds of certificates.

            Today readings help us to meditate about our life and to provide us with the true answer for the above question. In the first reading, the author of the Ecclesiates used his knowledge and experience to answer that question, but he couldn’t find a satisfied answer because the vanity of life and the presence of death. Lastly, he must conclude, “Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” In the second reading, the author of the Letter to the Colossians gave us the most correct answer: Since Christ destroyed death and brings the eternal life for people, so death isn’t the end. The faithful, though living in this world, but their eyes are always oriented to the next life. They must seek the things that are above by putting on Christ and put to death what are below such as: fornication, impurity, evil desire, and covetousness. In the Gospel, when a man came and asked Jesus to tell his brother to divide the inheritance and to give it to him, Jesus advised him, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.” And he told him a parable of a rich man who hoards up material things day and night to enjoy. When he thought that it is more than enough to enjoy, God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?' So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

II. ANALYSIS:

1/ Reading I: “Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.”

            Vanity can be said as the theme of the Book of Ecclesiates or Qohelet. This noun is used about thirty-five times in the Book. Vanity in Hebrew is “hebel,” meant “breath” or “steam.” This noun is also used in Psalms 39:6-7 and 94:11 to indicate what is quickly passed, useless or empty.

1.1/ The view of a person who had experience about life: Qohelet, the author of the Book, is a preacher or the spiritual leader of a community. He meditated on life with a purpose to find out the meaning of life. He realized that life is the most important thing, because if life is no longer existed, everything shall be meaningless for people. He also recognized that life isn’t depended on human beings and all people must die. The important thing is what remains when people are passed out. If nothing remains, this life is really meaningless. People can go ahead eating, drinking and making merry.

            This Book was written about 150 BC; at that time, the Israelites had no clear faith about the immortality of their soul and the eternal life. To them, all things happen in this life. Good people, who walked in the Lord’s way, shall be reward with richness, many descendants and a long life; but all of them are also died. We must wait for Jesus’ revelation about 150 years later to clearly understand the ultimate goal of life.

 

1.2/ What brings happiness for people?

            After carefully meditating what most of people regard them as happiness, the author concludes, “Vanity of vanities, vanity of vanities! All is vanity.” Some of them are mentioned in the Book and some are in today passage:

            (1) Wisdom: Some regard having wise knowledge is important because it helps people how to live; but the author realized that both the wise and the fool must share the same fate which is death. Wisdom doesn’t follow his owner to the tomb. So, wisdom is vanity!

            (2) Enjoyment: The majority people on the earth thinks the purpose of life is to enjoy; but the enjoyment doesn’t bring happiness for people. When they must face diseases and death, they can’t be enjoyed. So, enjoyment is vanity!

            (3) Hard labor: Some brought their wisdom and understanding and skill to labor hard for success. When faced death, they must hand their career for some who don’t have to work hard. So, hard labor is also vanity and great evil.

            The author posed the question, “What has a man from all the toil and strain with which he toils beneath the sun?” The thing he wanted to mention here is the death because it takes away all things which people must work hard for them. The author also recognized richness is also vanity, “For all his days are full of pain, and his work is a vexation; even in the night his mind does not rest.” Night is the time to rest and to recover; but the covetous has no time to rest. They lie on bed but their minds don’t rest; they think of all possible ways to become richer and to protect their belongings. So, rich people aren’t happy!

            So, how must people live to be happy? The author advised people to accept any small joy which God gives to them.

2/ Reading II: Christ gives human life a new value.

            What Qohelet couldn’t solve—the death; it is solved by the author of the Letter to the Colossians. Since Christ took away people’s sins and died for them, people shall not be died forever but to live an everlasting life. All meanings of life are found in Christ; He gives human life a new value. To understand today passage, we need to understand the theology of the sacrament of Baptism according to Paul. When a person is immersed in water, he takes off his old life with all sinful passions; so that when he arises from water, he puts on Christ, the immortal man and all of his grace. In today passage, the author described two effects corresponding with these two acts.

 

2.1/ Looking for what is above: The author said to the Colossian faithful, “If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things that are above.” St. Paul called the receiving of the sacrament of Baptism is to put on Christ. When the faithful put on Christ, they must live a new life as Christ lives: to live according to the heavenly standards and to do God’s will. St. Paul talked about his way of life as follows, “I live but no longer me; but Christ lives in me.”

            Is it meant that St. Paul advised the faithful to separate themselves from the world to meditate and to gaze on the heavenly things or live like angels independent of material things? No such thing; but right after today passage, he listed out a chain of religious principles. These principles clearly determine what he expects from the faithful. He expects them to continue with daily works of this world and to keep all normal relationships; but there is a difference which is from now on, the faithful see all things in relation to the eternal life, and they don’t live as this world is all what they have.

            This attitude urge the faithful to live according to new standards: What the world regards as important, they can’t regard them as important; the ambitions which dominate the world shall have no strength to attract the faithful. They still continue to use worldly things but in a new way. For example, they shall be happy to give away instead of receiving, to serve instead of governing; to forgive instead of hating. These standards of values come from God, not from human beings.

            Christ is the one who gives human meaningless life the hope to live, not to be died forever. Not only that, Christ is also the life. The immortal life is hidden in the faithful, as the author said, “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.”

2.2/ Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: Since the faithful is immersed in the water of Baptism, they must wipe out all their sins. The author gives a list of sins which the faithful must expel: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. They can’t lie to one another, seeing that they have put off the old nature with its practices, and have put on the new nature, which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator. They are no longer to live according to their will, but to find out and to live according to God’s will. They must live according to the truth, not according to the falsity. They must try to live in unity and charity with all people, can’t separate between Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian and Scythian, slave and free man, but only Christ is all and in all.


3/ Gospel: “For a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

           

3.1/ The worry about material things causes many sins for people.

            (1) The greed of material things causes contention, law suit and separation: The audience came to Jesus to hear words that bring peace and life; but one of them in today report wanted to rely on Jesus’ standing to ask Jesus telling his brother to divide the inheritance between them. Jesus denied his request and he warned him of being slavery to material things, “Take heed, and beware of all covetousness; for a man's life does not consist in the abundance of his possessions.”

            (2) The greed of material things cause people to store up unnecessary things: Then, he invited them to meditate life by a parable, “The land of a
rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, `What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?' And he said, `I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.'”

           

3.2/ No one can avoid death: God said to him, “Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?” Death can happen to people anytime because their life is in God’s hand. If a person spent all his life to labor hard to earn money, without storing up for himself the heavenly things, when God calls him up, what does he get? He shall lose all what he worked hard for and the eternal life because he didn’t worry about God’s heavenly things!

 

III. APPLICATION IN LIFE:                    

            - All what we have in this life are vanity. When the death comes, it takes away all our things. We should not depend on anything of this world.

            - Christ is the true hope for our life because he brings the eternal life for us. We should live and act according to his life.

            - We must keep ourselves from all forms of greed; it isn’t by richness that our life is protected. We should store up for ourselves what can’t be destroyed in heaven.

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