Pastor’s Corner 7/31/2016

This Sunday in his letter to the people of Colossus, St. Paul writes and declares: Christ is All in All.

By contrast, Qoheleth of Ecclesiastes (first reading) writes: Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!  In that case, we are in good stead to have a Redeemer, who will save us because he fills our lack by being “All in All.”  Some of us realize early on, while others of us take a lot longer, perhaps a lifetime, to figure out that life is fleeting, and that the things, “the stuffs” of this earth, fall woefully short of delivering what they seemed once to promise us.

All of us can give witness from life experience that life is fleeting and that all things are passing.  Even kids who are entering first grade this year can say, “Oh, going to kindergarten, that was so 2015!” I am reminded of my comments on the occasion of our Centennial Celebration Mass back in 2008, when I had to report that a call to a group of religious sisters, who once served at St. Rita, brought the quick declaration, “Sorry, Father, they’re all dead!” My goodness. And did you ever stop to think about how the commercial world depends on our being convinced that what we own is out of date and obsolete? Cars, mattresses, and computers (and ALL electronics) are plagued with shorter and shorter life expectancy—at least in our imagination.

The last line of today’s gospel passage advises us to be “rich in what matters to God.” Just building more and larger barns to hold all of our possessions is no solid guarantee for tomorrow. But how, then, do we rely more on what matters to God to solve the unforeseen crisis or the next tragedy to come our way? Too often these days we see and hear interviews with people who have “just lost everything,” because of a fire, flood or a mudslide. Can’t you just tell the difference between the folks who have faith and those who don’t?  I always say, “if you have religion, it should be working for you.” If you do not understand Jesus’ paschal mystery and how his life, death, and resurrection are meant to show us the way through life, then chances are, you will be the most likely to get angry at God, blame God, or even write God off!

Let’s not forget here that Jesus’ good news IS good news. We understand that the gospel is a message of salvation and redemption—very often a salvation from ourselves. Even in the Most Holy Eucharist that we celebrate together today can be discovered and experienced Jesus’ saving love and, more importantly, “what truly matters to God.”

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