EIGTEENTH SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME
(Green) Cycle C/Year I (August 4, 2019)
Eccl 1:2; 2:21-23/Col 3:1-5, 9-11/Lk 12:13-21
What happened to the man in the gospel’s parable who stored up things for himself and then enjoyed life was a tragic event. Certainly, he had a good intention. He simply would like to prepare for his future. Perhaps he was a good man. He did not cheat or steal to become rich. He simply worked hard day and night and when he had sufficient things for his future needs, he retired from his work and began enjoying life. But then God took his life and he lost all the things he worked for without enjoying them.
The story of this man is not far from the story of life of the ordinary person today. In fact his story is the story of our lives and his ambition is the dream of each of us. Who does not want to be secured in one’s present and future life? Who does not wish to have a lot of money and then retire and enjoy the fruit of one’s labor? It seems that all of us dream it. Like the man in the parable, we have a good intention and we are good persons too. We do not want to cheat or to steal; we do not want to do evil activities just to enrich ourselves. Like him, we work hard to earn our living and we work harder, day and night, just to have more than what we need so as to secure ourselves in the future.
The life of the man can be seen as the life of the ordinary worker, that is, an employee whether of the government or of private sector. The ordinary employee works the whole day and even does some overtime works just to make up for the living and earn more. The ordinary employee works hard to secure his future and when it’s time for his retirement, he finally enjoys the fruits of his labors. The life of the man can also be seen as the life of the employers or the businessmen. They work hard even sacrificing their time for rest and sleep just to enrich themselves and be more than secured for their future. After gaining a lot of money and become rich, they enjoy life the way they think they deserve. In both cases, it seems that there is nothing wrong.
But why was the man in the parable punished by God by taking his life so early as to deprive him from enjoying the fruit of his labor? Perhaps the good thing is that it seldom happens these days since the rich ones have money to prolong their lives not only by paying the best doctors but also by resorting to extraordinary means of prolonging one’s life. Of course, there are still some who cannot buy life with their money since for God money does not mean anything. These men die unexpectedly without having recourse to their riches just like the man in the parable.
For one thing, the man did not think of others except of himself. He worked hard not for others but simply for himself. He was extremely selfish that was why he was punished. We have to remember that no selfish man enters heaven. Our model is Jesus Christ who sacrificed everything including His life for our sake and for our salvation. When the man became rich he thought only of himself; he thought only of how to enjoy his money without considering the needs of others. Moreover, the way the man enjoyed his life was not a Christian way. His principle was a pagan one: “Take life easy; eat, drink and be merry” (Lk 12:19b).
A Christian way is the principle of Jesus: “Live for God; love, forgive and help.” If we want genuine happiness, we must live such principle of Jesus and not the pagan one. If we think only of ourselves, we become dissatisfied. On the other hand, if we think always of others, and live the principle of life of Jesus, then we become truly happy. This was what St. Francis of Assisi and St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta did. They forgot themselves and live for God and for others. We may not be like them. But we must strive our best to work hard not only for ourselves but also for others; we must live in accordance to God’s will. We must never be afraid to love, to forgive and always to help for us to become children of God and to enjoy eternal life.