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Saturday, 3 August 2013

Reflection/Homily: Eighteenth (18th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C. 3rd August 2013

Reflection/Homily: Eighteenth (18th) Sunday of Ordinary Time Year C. - 3rd August  2013
Theme: The Danger of Consumerism

 Consumerism is an ideology that supports individuals to keep accumulating wealth for themselves. In other words, it is the attitude of avarice and it has eaten deep into the fabrics of our society. People are no longer satisfied with the basic necessities of life. Instead, they develop an ever-increasing and insatiable quest for wealth. To worsen the matter, most often these people indulge in deplorable activities just for the sake of gaining material wealth. 

In the wake of the 21st century, now that consumerism has become the order of the day, the first reading (Eccl. 1:2,2:21-23) reminds us that all is vanity. This is a call to remind Christians that all we struggle to achieve and possess in this world would one day cease to be ours and become the property of those who do not know how much we suffered to acquire them. Sometimes, there is even a tendency for them to squander them like the prodigal son. The reading is not an invitation to abandon the pursuit of earthly goods but a reminder not to consider them as the end of life. 

It is no longer foreign to the senses to observe that today the attitude to wealth is that of greediness and jealousy which makes the pursuit of wealth a do or die affair. Most people want to be ranked among the richest men in their area just for the glory and they are ready to indulge in whatever evil that would guarantee them that position. Even in this era of technology, most of us go for the latest communication gadget not because of the need they serve but for the glory of possessing them. 

As a result of this, our society is filled with social deviants who victimize innocent citizens and rob them of their material possessions. Leaders reserve public fund for selfish purposes. Contractors prefer to consume the money given to them instead of accomplishing their tasks. As we do this, is good to remember that the Scripture has bountiful testimonies of God’s disinterest for the materially rich. The story of Lazarus and the Rich man is only an example and that is why in Mt. 19:23, Jesus said that it will be hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. The difficulty in entering heaven does not lie in the possession of riches but in the attitude associated with most rich people. 

The Gospel reading (Lk. 12:13-21) presents us with a case study. We observe that the rich fool in today's parable is so self-centered that he couldn't go beyond the self. He couldn't understand a bountiful harvest as a gift from God which is supposed to be shared with his neighbours. He never gave thanks to God but thought he had the whole time in the world to consume his harvest until God called for his soul. 

Even in our age, we still find people who think and behave like this rich fool. Like the rich fool, they fail to acknowledge their riches as a blessing from God and so fail to give thanks to God. The fail to share this blessings with those around them. Finally, they think they are in charge of their destiny. That is why we find people who victimize the poor just to become rich. We also find those who live in affluence while those around them are perishing in hunger. Such persons do not feel bound to assist the less priviledged among them. 

It is important to note that the rich fool is not condemned for being rich. Instead he is condemned because of his attitude to riches. We might be richly blessed by God with material goods, but we are called to recognize God's influence in our material success as the source of all we have and are. 

More so, we are also called to depend on God for our sustenance and not on our wealth. Though we may have all the money to buy the best of food and seek the best of medical attention, it is only God who gives good health. We may have the money to buy all materials that can guarantee us comfort, it is only God who gives happiness and fulfillment. We may afford to purchase the most sophisticated security gadgets but only God can guarantee us adequate security and peace of mind.  

Therefore beloved friends, what is it that you have acquired in large number, is it wealth or fame? Do not glory in it because it can never guarantee you happiness or eternal life. Only God can. Instead depend on God and use those things for the service of God who can grant you fulfillment and all that your heart desires. Always trust in God and not in your purchasing power or worth. That is why the second reading (Col. 3:1-5,9-11) advices us to set our minds on the things that are above and not on earthly things. As we set our minds on the kingdom of God and it's righteousness, may God grant our needs through Christ our Lord. God loves you. 

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