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Homily 18th Sunday of the Year

Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ you must look for things that are in heaven”.

 

by Rev Deacon Michael Kennedy


Homily 18th Sunday of the Year


Since you have been brought back to true life with Christ you must look for things that are in heaven”.


This opening line from our 2nd reading is full of hope for you and me.

Why?

Because St Paul reminds us of what the greatest richness is- You and I have been brought back to true life in Christ.


We are Sons and Daughters of a loving God, we are brothers and Sisters, we are family.

And as Sons and Daughters of a loving God, as brothers and Sisters, as family, our task, our mission, our calling is to Love one another, care for one another, be there for one another, look out for one another.


Contrast this with the Rich Young Man in the Gospel- he who had everything, he thought of nobody but himself, who stored up his riches but thought just of himself. And in the Gospel, in that Parable , Jesus is quick to point out that not only does the rich young man think only of himself, but he fails to give any credit at all to God for the richness of the harvest- he does not acknowledge that the success of this harvest is not meant for him alone, but to be shared. Instead, he builds a bigger barn and keeps it all to himself.


One of the common features of the Early Christians, which you will also hear spoken about in St Lukes other work in the New Testament, The Acts of the Apostle is this ideal that the early Christians held all things in common and distributed to others according to their need. This is what made them rich in the sight of God, because they saw God as the source of all that was good, they thanked God for the riches he had bestowed upon them, and they thanked God by putting their gratitude into practice, receiving with gratitude and giving in love.


This morning we could ask ourselves the question:

How Do I build up treasures for God?

Do I Hold on to things that prevent me from reaching out in love to others?

There is a story told about a Fisherman who was relaxing on a beach. He had caught enough that morning for his needs, including a modest income, Just then another man came by and asked him “Why are you not out fishing?” And the fisherman explained that for today, he had done enough.

But if you fished all day, came the reply, you’d make lots of money, you’d be able to buy a bigger boat, you could set up a freezing plant, you’d become super-rich.

And then what said the Fisherman?

Then you could enjoy a life of leisure and relax on the beach.

The Fisherman looked up at him. And simply smiled.


At the time our First Reading was written and also during the time of Jesus public ministry there was a common assumption that wealth was a sign of God’s blessing, and if you were poor, it was a sign that you had done something wrong. The. Lord himself grappled, and even struggled to change that view point even among his apostles. Wealth was seen as good, and to be wealthy you were “accepted in society”, to be poor you were considered an outcast, someone not to associate with.


The parable in todays Gospel is only found in St Luke, he is the Gospel writer most associated with writing about the dangers of riches and the need to come to support those who are poor.


When I was growing up in 1980’s there was a character of the comedian Harry Enfield. At the time it was seen as the goal in life to earn lots of money, to put self before others, to live the fast life. This was fuelled by other areas of our society; it was the political message of the time. And so, Harry Enfield created this dreadful character called Loads of Money- a young, brash 20 something, he cared for nothing else about himself and his money. In a way this was an exaggerated character but sadly it did reflect what many thought of the time, Wealth and Self before others. The I’m alright Jack approach and forget about everyone else.

But is this real wealth?

Is this Real richness?

Does his make you happy?

You and I may not have Loads of money- we may not drive flash cars, but You and I are rich.


Because our riches, our wealth come from the fact that we are part of God’s Family, that we strive each and everyday to put Christ at the Centre of our lives, that we try to follow him, where he leads us and wherever he goes.


The Gospel challenge for all of us today to live out our Christian values, our Great Christian Wealth, in a society which places such great emphasis on material wealth.

Our Wealth is not just in what we own, it is in what we give, it is what we share, it is in what time we give to the Lord, the Lord who loves us, the Lord who cares for us, the Lord who guides us, the Lord who walks with us. The Lord who calls you and me today to follow him.


Today we keep the feast of St Ignatius of Loyola, the famous Spanish nobleman who following an encounter with the Lord gave up everything and founded the Society of Jesus (the Jesuits). We could also think of the great St Francis of Assisi, again of noble birth, he gave up everything to follow his Lord. As St Paul reminds us, “there is only Christ, he is everything, and he is in everything”


St Patrick in his famous writings can remind us of the need to place Christ at the centre of our lives,


Christ be with me, Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me, Christ beside me, Christ to win me, Christ to comfort and restore me. Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ in quiet, Christ in danger, Christ in hearts of all that love me, Christ in mouth of friend and stranger.

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