for Sunday, July 31, 2016
"If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above." - today most people find this way of thinking unacceptable. We want to live in this life, not in the life of the world to come. Many of us have lost any sense of eternal life and instead live for the values of this world. Following Christ demands that we convert and accept His message, which gives us a whole different way of living.
The first reading today is from the Book of Ecclesiastes. We don't read much from this book, but most of us know the phrase: "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." So many of us can identify with this statement. We have looked for so many things and in the end have found that truly nothing has value except that which lasts for eternity. We call this Christian virtue detachment.
Christian detachment does not take away the value of earthly realities, but keeps us aware that there is more to come. If we set our hearts on being rich, on having a wonderful career, on possessions, or on anything else, we will find ourselves disappointed. Those realities can be wonderful if they help us love others more. In other words, if we use the realities of this world to embrace the reality of the world to come (love God and love neighbor), then the realities of this world are useful to us in a very good way. The Book of Ecclesiastes simply reminds us that everything in this world passes away except spiritual reality.
The second reading, from the Letter to the Colossians, reminds us again: "Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry." Today our modern world wants to change what is immoral into what is moral, what is impure into what is pure, passion into virtue, evil desire as something to be imitated and greed in to the normal way of living. We Christians are invited to live according to the teachings of the Lord Jesus and they are truly counter cultural today!
The Gospel, today from Saint Luke, reminds once more that we should always keep our eyes on death, on the life of the world to come, so that our actions in this life will be guided by the eternal realities that await us.
It is so easy for us Christian to be seduced by the values of this world because they seem so pleasant and bring such pleasure. The challenge is to keep our eyes on Jesus and allow ourselves to be formed by what He had told us. Far too many teachers today preach a Gospel which is not from Jesus but is simply a Gospel of the values of this world. For us who accept that Jesus is always in His Church, we have the guidance of the Church to help us stay on the right path. Again, many today want the Church to adjust to the values of this world. Let us walk with the Lord Jesus and with His Church.
Readings of the day:
Reflections are available for the following Sundays: