Preaching The Word

 

THIS WEEK’S SCRIPTURES
July 31, 2022
Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Ecclesiastes 1:2, 2:21–23; Colossians 3:1–5, 9–11; Luke 12:13–21

Reflection by: Sister Barbara Moore, OP

More or Less

Today’s Gospel story is echoed in almost every culture and age. Russian storyteller Leo Tolstoy’s version relates the adventure of Pakhom who learns that for a few rubles he can have all the land he can cover by foot in one day.  He is tempted into widening circles as the day progresses. The condition imposed was that he return at a set time at the end of the day. As the day drew to a close, he realized how wide he had stretched his dream and began to run faster and faster to make the deadline. Completely exhausted, barely standing up, he reached the finish line as he breathed his last breath. He won the land but lost his life.

Chapter Two of the Book of Ecclesiastes is surrounded by the famous phrase “Vanity of Vanities.” For some thirty verses, we read a long monologue of successes, accomplishments, and achievements celebrated by its author. In retrospect with this celebratory monologue, he comes to realize all as vanity, folly and “a chase after the wind.” Has his past all been meaningless, pointless, in view of its end?

In contrast we hear Paul speaking to the Colossians today with another listing, another monologue, but of behaviors to avoid. “Put to death all the parts of you that is earthy.” Put your energies into a “new self” in the image of your creator. We are invited to a dialogue with love and how we struggle each day to live it.

 

Tolstoy, Leon. Enough Land for One Man.

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