Sunday, August 05, 2007

Homily for 18th Sunday C - Being Rich in God's Eyes

This morning I presided at the 10:30 morning mass. The Church was overflowing - there were probably over six hundred who attended mostly from the upper class. This was the homily that I preached:

Many of us are concerned about having more money and possessions so that we can fulfill our basic needs and desires- to eat well, have a nice house, drive a car, provide good education for the children, pay the hospital when we get sick, etc. There's nothing wrong with working hard so that we can live in comfort.

What is wrong is when the accumulation of wealth and material possessions become an obsession and when our hearts are filled with greed. This becomes the sole purpose of our existence. We make an idol out of our wealth - when we think that this is the only thing that matters. What is worst is when we use evil means to achieve this end - when we exploit others, treath them unjustly, engage in graft and corruption, destroy the environment, etc. We become materialisticd and live as if there is no God and as if we will never die. We become like the Rich Fool in the parable we have just read.

In our Gospel today, Jesus warns us: "Take care care, be on your guard against all forms of greed, for one's life does not consist in the abundance of one's possessions."

Jesus reminds us also of the reality of death. We are all going to die someday. This awareness forces us to examine our priorities - about what matters most in life.

There is more to life than accumulating material possessions. When this is all we have accomplised at the end of our life, we will still be failure in God's eyes. To be rich in God's eyes is not just about having more money.

We really do not know how much time we have left here on earth. It could be 24 years, or 24 months, or 24 hours. The most important question we need to answer is not how much more money and possession that we can accumulate.

Rather, how much love and care we can show to our fellow human beings - starting with our own family (your spouse, the children, relatives), our neighbors, the community, the poor in our midst.

We need to answer the question: what legacy can we leave behind after we are gone? What is the good that we have done - how we make this world a better place to live in, our efforts to eradicate poverty, to work for peace and justice, to defend the environment, etc.

Ultimately we need to examine our relatioship with the source of our being - God - who is also our final destiny.

In the end, God will judge us by our love and the good we have done - not by our possessions. The persons who have loved God and people the most are truly rich in God's eyes.

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