Vanity of vanities. All is vanity!
When a rich person dies, all their wealth is passed on to another who has not even laboured for it.
This is vanity and it’s a great misfortune. There was this rich man who was so attached to his money, before dying, he requested his wife to put all his money in his coffin, the wife agreed. A week after the funeral the wife’s sister asked her if she had done what her husband had requested, she said yes! of course! I put a cheque for the entire amount in his coffin, he can cash it whenever he likes.
Jesus talks about a similar person who is obsessed with his wealth, he has laboured with wisdom and knowledge and skill, and yet in his lifetime has missed out something of greater importance, he made a living,
but he missed out living a ‘LIFE.’
Sometimes we think that Jesus is an enemy of the rich. Not at all! Jesus is not interested in our fame and fortune.
He is interested in us living well, he is telling us to remember who we are in the eyes of God, we are his precious children and are not meant to lower our dignity by joining the rat race, running unduly after money or getting overly worried about what we are going to have for the future, he wants us to take care of ourselves and trust in his divine providence for our future.
Jesus is against being obsessed by money and he is not against those who are rich. Many of the greatest saints in the church came from well-to-do families, so, it is not riches that are the root of all evil, but the love of riches. It forces our attention on something that is not relevant.
Imagine us being in the place of the rich man, we always want just a little bit more, and little bit more, and a little bit more and we want to store it and worry about it being safe, we install all sorts of alarm systems and are even afraid of going on holiday, we are afraid of our possessions being robbed.
In the end when it’s too late in life we realise that we have to leave it all behind and the people who didn’t work for it, didn’t care about it, are happy to get it and spend it, in the bargain we have ruined our own life and lost opportunities of being happy, of spending some quality time with our family and of loving the people around us.
So what Jesus is trying to do is to save us. Qoheleth, the author of the first
reading says…“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” Qoheleth tells us, “Love God and be with your family and friends, don’t go striving to try and build kingdoms or fortresses, the idea is to focus on our own life and the day to day development of our life.
If you want to be a doctor, be it, not for the money but for healing people. If you do it for healing people, your life will be filled with joy. If you do it for money, you’ll just be mad when the next patient comes in after work hours and you’ll say, “Well, I don’t have time to care for you.”
Our lives united to Christ are not in vain. We can give glory to God through our words and actions. What we do for the praise and glory of God will be remembered on earth and in heaven for all eternity.
Fr George Carlos SDP