Homily for 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

posted Aug 1, 2016, 10:44 AM by Church Office   [ updated Aug 1, 2016, 10:44 AM by Michelle Massung ]

            In today's three readings we hear from three different people that have three different perspectives about life. The first from the book of Ecclesiastes is very pessimistic; all life is vanity, why bother going to work or doing anything at all in life. The second reading from St. Paul tells us to not focus on things of the earth but things from above. The fact that Christ is dwelling inside of us should change our negative perspective of life to a positive one. Then in the Gospel, Jesus tells us the story of the rich man who has riches and possessions beyond belief. He is the first to need an off-site storage unit to hold all his possessions. Each person, the man in Ecclesiastes, St. Paul, and the rich man can be defined by they way they live their lives; one pessimistic, one of the life of Christ, and the rich man by his greed and self-centeredness.

            So the question I have for you today is what defines you to the outside world? If perception is reality, how do people perceive you and how is this similar or different from how you want people to perceive you? In my case some people describe me as the priest that wear sandals, the priest that plays golf, or the priest that reaches out or is accessible by the people. Notice how I didn't mention being humble. So if I want to be perceived as being more humble, I have to live a more humble life.

            Let me give you another example. Many of you have heard of Bill Gates. The first impression I had of Bill Gates was that he was a brilliant software engineer that founded Microsoft and became the world's richest man. However, since his retirement five years ago, Bill Gates has a different mission in life. He now wants to permanently eradicate certain diseases like polio, malaria, and cancer from the world.  He wants to raise the standard of living for the billions of people that live in terrible poverty without food, water, electricity, or toilets. He is using his money and talents to help mankind. His perception has greatly changed as a result of how he lives his life.

            So what defines you in the eyes of others, your career, your house, or your neighborhood, the school you send your children to, the hobbies you enjoy, your role as a husband, wife, son, or daughter? As we heard today, we have a higher calling that any of these, we are called to be Disciples of Christ and to live out our lives as an example for others to follow. We are to be Christ-like the way we use our gifts and talents? Do we use them for our glory or for the glory of God and to help serve others?  Sure we need to work to support our families yet we also have to share with those in need. God isn't against making lots of money, he is against hoarding and not sharing with others like the rich man did. So do people perceive you as a disciple of Christ? If not try to change their perception while you still have time.

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