Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Catholic 747 : Eighteenth Sunday of the Year C - Sunday, August 4, 2019

Homily Eighteenth Sunday of the Year C  - Sunday, August 4, 2019

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Psalm: Ps 89:3-6. 12-14. 17. "In every age, O Lord, you have been our refuge"
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-5. 9-11
Gospel Acclamation: Matthew 5:3
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21 

Photo by Randy Fath on Unsplash https://unsplash.com/photos/p0-baYz_TcU
Please listen to my audio recordings of the readings, prayers and reflections for the Eighteenth Sunday of the Year C  - Sunday, August 4, 2019 by clicking this link here:   https://soundcloud.com/user-633212303/18c-faith-hope-and-love-ep-169/s-ttNHm  (EPISODE: 169)
Prologue:  What are we putting all our effort and time and energy into?   That is a very good question, and it's the message that comes through clearly in this weekend's readings.  It is possible to be very busy, occupied almost every moment of the day in something, but how does it fit into the bigger picture?  We may spend our time responding to urgent calls on our time and effort, but it is also important to stop and think; ...  these things that call upon me.....  are they not only urgent, but are they also important?  Even an urgent matter might need to give way to an important one.   Our Lord calls us to think about what we are building in our lives...  and will it last?   All efforts in the building up of God's Kingdom are investments in the things that truly matter and which last forever. 
The first reading this weekend (Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23), is rather sobering and tragic. The writer is bemoaning the vanity and futility that goes with many of our earthly efforts.

These words are meant to "snap us out" of our apathy, (and our lack of focus), and bring us back into reality. To get our priorities right!

In some ways, it contains a similar theme to the gospel a couple of weeks ago. Mary and Martha.  It is quite possible to be working very hard, and keeping extremely busy;  hardly ever stopping.  But it is quite possible to be busy, and distracted by many things…    that does NOT make them the important priorities. It is very possible to be so busy that we don't focus on the things that are of vital importance.  Or, to worry and focus on eventualities that never happen whilst missing those that are happening already.
The readings this weekend make a timely point: Some of the things we can spend an enormous amount of our time, energy and resources on, will produce limited fruits with some very questionable quality.

I cannot help thinking of  people throughout history who have worked hard to build up a nest egg for their future, only for some unexpected tragedy or wrongdoing to occur to them -  and all that hard work just seems to evaporate overnight. It is an absolutely unimaginable and  terrible situation. It's heartbreaking when people find that unexpected circumstances in life have caused the fruits of all their hard work to be destroyed. 

However, we do know that appearances can be deceiving.  Their work was not in vain .... Their dedication over those many years did provide for the current needs of  their families, and their work gave them self-respect,  satisfaction of a job well done and the sense of dignity and effort they put into their vocation. Surely in God's eyes, this would surely have produced enormous spiritual fruits and satisfaction, even if the fruits are not clearly seen, and certainly even if little or no monetary fruits can be seen. For truly, in a vocation we do not just work for a living, but all our strivings are also put at the service of God's Kingdom. In any case, our always hearts go out to those whose toil appears to have been in vain………. Through tragedy, injustice, the acts of wrongdoing by others..  ((or other causes)…. 

We reflect upon these readings and upon on all the Fruits that do not last beyond this life and which might not, (after all), be worth the effort. So we are invited, as Paul says in the second reading, (Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11), to keep our eyes on the 'things of heaven' – the things that last… and to avoid merely earthly desires. 

The gospel today is very challenging too. All the parables Jesus told are meant to be challenging and jarring. They are meant to unsettle us and turn upside-down our expectations. And this parable is particularly unnerving…  

It seems quite sensible to plan for one's future and to ensure against a rainy day. It is wise to save up for the future and for a comfortable life. Many people do it. It is considered prudent. So, why is this man in the parable this weekend considered to be unwise??…  Why is he considered 'foolish'?  He is called a fool not just by ANYONE… but by God himself….  If God calls someone a fool, then surely they must be the worst kind of fool! 

Jesus is telling this story not to people who are foolish. Neither does he tell this story to people whose lives are actually about to end (one hopes for a long life, but we also know that life is short and unpredictable and so one doesn't know how long any of us has)…. So,this Gospel is directed at people who Our Lord hopes are sensible, and who are also open and loving people, with resources at their disposal and who (God willing) have a long healthy life ahead. And he is inviting them to trust in God's providence and care and use their resources for the good of others now at this time and in this place. It is no good to worry only about all the endless possible future needs, which may never come to be.

It is good to be sensible and to save for a rainy day, but not at the expense of our commitment to others whose needs are right here and right now; and are all-too-real and immediate!  Jesus want to make sure that we are not stopped from being generous because of unreasonable fear and over-protection against events that may never come. 

In the parable, "God intervenes to show the man how foolish and misguided his plans are. This does not mean that in the next life he is condemned to hell…** It does not necessarily suggest that. Rather, the point here is to be clear about the priorities we make in this life so that we respond to the meaning of life itself. Jesus rejects the accumulation of riches for oneself, because it is not in accordance with God's will of selfless and generous loving service towards God and others.** In setting our priorities, we are encouraged to keep this in mind.

That rich man thinks only of himself. He even talks about himself and to himself. This man also works for himself and stores food for himself. It is mean! It is lonely! It is a distorted world-view where he is trapped in a very selfish and isolated world of his own making.  Jesus reminds  us that we are in union with others around us. We are actually diminished as people if our purposes and actions go no further than our own self-satisfaction.  This foolish man lets his fear and self-focus absorb him completely…

…… In a way., we already know what a good ending to this parable would be…. 
The rich man has a good year and he is so happy that he says to himself and to those around him, "this is a wonderful year. God has blessed us. Quick, tell others to come along and take some grain. Let us share it. For I want all of us to celebrate in this wonderful blessing, so that we might all have something, and have a bit for a rainy day too. (now, it may very well be that this good soul might pass away at the same time…  he isn't being taken because he did the right or wrong thing….   But, then God will come to him and say, (not "you fool"  but "well done my good  and faithful servant,  you have made yourself rich in my sight and in the sight of your brothers and sister whom you have helped, now enter into your heavenly inheritance." We know that God will do this because other parables of the kingdom show that same kind of situation. And this vision fills our hearts with joy…. 

This is how the man could make himself rich in the sight of God and win lasting praise from people of goodwill everywhere. May our love, gratitude, generosity, service and care for others flow out in gracious care and compassion for others. May we use our gifts for the good of all; and for the greater good of God's Kingdom…
Fr Paul W. Kelly

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"Faith, Hope and Love,  A time of Christian worship and reflection"  - Led by Rev Paul W. Kelly
Texts used in this programme are for the purposes of worship and prayer for listeners wherever you are.
Prayers and chants are taken from the English Translation of the Roman Missal, edition three, © 2010, The International commission on English in the liturgy.
Scriptures are from the New Revised Standard Version: © 1989,  by the national council of Churches of Christ, USA. , //adaptations to conform with Catholic liturgical norms, © 2009, by the same.
 [{selected psalms } - ***Psalm verses are (also) taken from "The Psalms: A New Translation" ©1963, The Grail (England), published by Collins.. **]

Prayers of the Faithful are adapted from Robert Borg's 1993 book " Together we pray". Published in Sydney Australia By  E.J. Dwyer. (out of print).

{ "Mass In Honour of St. Ralph Sherwin" -published 2011,  Composed and Sung by Jeffrey M. Ostrowski 
Featuring the….Gloria, The Creed, The Kyrie, The Mass parts, Psalms:  
http://www.ccwatershed.org/chabanel/  ]]] ] COPYRIGHT @ 2018 CORPUS CHRISTI WATERSHED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.  www.ccwatershed.org/vatican/Ralph_Sherwin_Videos/  

"Faith, Hope and Love" theme Hymn:   Words, based on 1 Corinthians 13:1-13, set to original music © 1996 by Paul W. Kelly.

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May God bless and keep you.

Eighteenth Sunday of the Year C
Sunday, August 4, 2019)

(EPISODE: 169 )

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. (or/ The Lord be with You)
{{May Our Lord's Mercy renew you. }}

Coming together as brothers and sisters in Christ, let us prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries by recalling our sins and remembering Christ's greater mercy. 
You raise the dead to life in the Spirit. Lord, have mercy//You bring pardon and peace to the sinner. Christ, have mercy// You bring light to those in darkness. Lord, have mercy//
May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life.  Amen.

Memorial Acclamation

3. Save us, Saviour of the world, for by your Cross and Resurrection you have set us free.


Sundays Ordinary VIII

Euch prayer III

Communion side.  pwk: 
Many thanks for participating in this time of praise and reflection upon our loving God.}

Go forth, the Mass is ended.

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