Sunday, July 31, 2016

Looking Ahead

Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor
By Father Perry D. Leiker, pastor 

Quote of the Week: “Vanity is the quicksand of reason.” — George Sand.

Have you made out your will yet?

Have you carefully decided what each child or survivor will receive when you have gone to heaven? Have you taken care of all of the details of your inheritance?

If not, you may watch from the heavens above exactly what is described in the scriptures today. You may see your children and others fighting over material goods. You may hear from beyond the complaints and anger surrounding your family’s protestations that “they should be getting more of the inheritance.”

It happens all the time. For the parent who wants their children to stay united after they have died, it is imperative that these things be taken care of.

Why? The scripture gives a clear reason.

The word of God guides us to see the truth and reality of sin, of envy, of dependence on material things. The first reading from Ecclesiastes begins: “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!”

And, quite soberly, Psalm 90 reminds us that indeed we “turn back to dust. A thousand years in (God’s) sight are as yesterday, now that it is past.”

And this is true for us all.

Paul tells us to “seek what is above.” In super powerful language he warns us to focus on what is important and to see the material and merely physical (old self) through the new self (spiritual) that has been renewed, reborn, made free in Christ, “who is all and in all.”

Jesus never minces words, and so today should be no surprise when he answers the brother who is complaining against his sibling over inheritance. Jesus’ answer: “Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he tells them a parable about a man who wants more and more and more — building bigger barns to fill with more grain. He can’t get enough. Then he dies. He cannot keep any of it. This man became rich in things then dies.

“Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” and “You fool!” says Jesus. “This night your life will be demanded of you; and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?”

The second reading takes on even stronger meaning in the Gospel’s context when Paul says: “Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly: immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and the greed that is idolatry.”

And he tells us what really matters: “Stop lying to one another, since you have taken of the old self and put on the new self, which is being renewed, for knowledge, in the image of its creator. Here Christ is all and in all!”

In other words, grow in the spirit. Grow in the things of the heart. Grow in love and truth. Inheritances are wonderful; they are a blessing.

Money is a necessity; a little extra can make life easier and give us more choices. Receiving a gift from our parents who worked hard and sacrificed so that we could have more than they did, it’s all good, but it isn’t everything.

Never forget: “Vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!”

Father Perry D. Leiker is pastor of St. Bernard Church. Reach him at (323) 255-6142, Ext. 112; email Follow Father Perry on Twitter: @MrDeano76.

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