Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost (Year C)
Scripture Readings*: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23, Psalm 107:1-9, 43, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
Existentialism (a 20th-century philosophical movement) expresses what King Solomon (the writer of Ecclesiastes) discovered many years before: It’s hard to find any intrinsic meaning or purpose in this universe! All is vanity!
Like Solomon, even the wealthiest and most successful men and women of today, in their quiet moments, feel what Solomon felt: A void in life that only God can fill.
Paul’s letter to the Colossians confronts the philosophy of Gnosticism, a teaching that matter is evil and that true freedom can only be experienced through “gnosis” (knowledge). Paul stresses that God has entered the material world, and in a real human body, won our salvation.
He stresses that we are “raised with Christ” (vv. 1-4) and we are to “put to death” the sins prevalent in our sin nature (vv. 5-8), and to “put on” a new “self,” renewed in God’s image (vv. 9-11). How we live in our body does make a difference. True spirituality is living a human life – on this earth – in union with God.
One of the expectations of Rabbis (“teachers”) was to adjudicate matters of dispute in accordance with rabbinical law. Jesus refuses to be involved in the quarrel. However, he offers a parable to stress a reality: A legal judgment does not have the ability to resolve greed or anger in one’s heart.
What’s Your Net Worth?
We do it more than we realize. Without even considering it, we measure a person’s worth – our worth – by the numbers in a checking account. The size of someone’s investment portfolio determines the amount of time we invest into him or her. We look at a profit and loss statement and assign value to someone based on the numbers at the bottom of the page.
Today’s readings point out that the bottom line isn’t always the bottom line. King Solomon and Jesus both remind us that for all our toil and labor, we leave this world with empty hands. What joy awaits us when we choose to invest into what’s truly important – truly eternal. As the demands of life pull at you for time and attention, ask yourself this: “Does this investment contribute to my spiritual net worth? Is what I’m doing today yielding rewards in God’s economy?”
Prayer for Eleventh Sunday After Pentecost – Merciful God, open my eyes to see the eternal value in my daily decisions and discussions, guiding and governing my thoughts and actions; through Jesus Christ, Amen.
*Readings are from the Revised Common Lectionary, Year C