18C19. Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23. This first reading makes the statement: “All things are vanity!” It later continues on to say: “For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart with which he has labored under the sun?” That seems to me to be saying that our human efforts fall short of achieving what we set out to do or of holding onto whatever we did achieve. Psalm 90 says, “You turn man back to dust.” In other words what growth there was over the years in our bodies, minds, and whatever else we were, is turned back to nothing but dust. “All things are vanity!” What we accomplish is a flash of light that disappears in the darkness. What is done humanly, seemingly without God, is done in vain, useless.
Luke 12:13-21. “Someone in the crowd said to Jesus, ’Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.’ He replied to him, ‘Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?’” I understand Jesus’ reply to mean, “Here it is that I have come into this world to lead you to what is of value beyond this world. You, however, insist on clinging to what is worldly and ignoring what is eternal. The desire for worldly goods or greed are blinding to what is eternally good. Filling up with the goods of this world will leave little or no room to have the life-giving presence of our God who makes us to be the good person we need to be to inherit eternal life. Having goods is not the same as being good. This world insists that having the goods of this world is all that matters. On the other hand, God insists that being good in his eyes is all that matters. In the end all this world can give us is the rot or decay of the grave; in contrast God gives us the eternal and glorious life that flows from his love for us.
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11. “Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.” Our baptism commits us to living a heavenly God-filled life while still living physically here on earth. We have chosen to be infinitely more than just homo sapiens, just another animal of this world, born here to terminate in a grave here. “For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory. Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly.” “You have taken the old self with its practices and have put on the new self.” That new self is still located in this world but now without this world as its life, only the life-giving presence of the Jesus for whom “Christ is all and in all.”