The good news for the day July 31
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time (114)
Illusion of illusions, says Qoheleth,
Illusion of illusions! All things are illusory (form the Book of Qoheleth)
Somebody in the crowd asked Jesus: “Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.” Jesus answered; “Friend, who has made me your judge and mediator?” Then Jesus said to the public, “Take care to safeguard against any and all greed; though someone may be rich, your life does not consist of what you own.” Then he went on to tell a story. “There was a rich man once whose land produced an abundant harvest. The man asked himself, ‘What am I going to do? I don’t have space to store my harvest?’ So he said, ‘Here is what I am going to do: I’ll tear down my silos and build bigger ones. There I’ll store all my yield and other goods and I’ll say to myself, “Now as for you, you have so many good things stored up for so many years, now rest, eat, drink, and half fun!”’ But God spoke to him, ‘You fool, this very night your life will be demanded of you—the things you have set up—who is going to get them?’ This is how it is for persons who store up treasure for themselves but fail to get rich in what matters to God.” (Luke 12)
“Greed is good!” is not just a movie quote, but part of the culture we live in. You and I have greed in us—a virus waiting to become painful. Few of us pursue a goal of living simply, without hope for wealth and security. It is there; it shows up eventually. It is not just greed for money—it is far more far-reaching. Greed appears as the pursuit of illusions (“vanity of vanities”). We want to have love, happiness and security; we hope to possess good health, great achievement and peace of mind. These are achieved—BUT only by indirection. You love specific people —that is how you get love; you do hard, satisfying work—that is how you find happiness. You work for justice—and that leads to peace. You watch your habits, and that is how you stay healthy. That is the Good News: Pursue the realm of what is really the right thing—and you become truly rich!