18 Sunday C in Ordinary Time Luke 12, 13-21

Take heed and beware of all greed” (Luke 12:15).

These words apply to greedy capitalists and the cheap, “calculating” people around us, who ask at every opportunity, “What’s in it for me? These are unhappy people who see only their markets, their customers, and their money. Their hearts have grown dull and heavy with the desire to have even more material possessions, even though they already have so much that they could live in peace. No wonder their hearts are so full that their minds are clouded, and they cannot stop to tell themselves that their family, their children, and their wife need them, that they need to rest, to regain new strength, that they need to thank God… It is not rare that these reckless people are as quick to come into money as they are to lose it. They do not know how to enjoy; they have no joy in their lives. They see in their surroundings competitors, enemies, envious people… They have become slaves to money, yet they are unaware of the diseased state, worse than cancer, into which they have fallen by their lifestyle.
Even Jesus did not avoid the problem of possessions. When he is approached by one of the crowd to arrange for the distribution of property among the brethren, Jesus not only makes it clear “who has appointed me as a judge or a divider among you”; (Lk 12:14), but also uses the parable of the rich man whose field yielded a rich harvest, and the rich man’s wrongdoing, Jesus uses to remind us of our death, that we will only take to the other world the spiritual values that will decide our reward or punishment. None of us wants to hear the words at the hour of our death: “fool.” A fool is one “who layer up treasures for himself and is not rich in the sight of God” (Lk 13:21).
The Lord Jesus recommends striving to be rich, not before men, but before God. Such wealth requires no less enterprise. Our true riches are our faith and hope, which demands that we pay more attention to the celebration of Sunday. Indeed, faith and hope today face serious and perhaps even increasing obstacles than they would at first appear. Our faith and hope are capital that yields interest in the form of such virtues as patience, faithfulness, perseverance, dedication… The praiseworthy testimony of these virtues is our works that deserve eternal life, and these are our endless riches before God, gathered in the eternal granaries. Jesus leads us in the Gospel to appreciate our efforts and achievements from this angle, asking ourselves what we will get out of them.

On July 7, 1998, the Holy Father John Paul II addressed his Apostolic Letter Dies Domini – The Lord’s Day to all bishops, clergy, and faithful, in which he addresses the celebration of Sunday from three perspectives. In this way, he recalls the doctrine, which is the basis of pastoral implications and spiritual demands. We should not forget that Sunday is the day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the gift of the Holy Spirit. For us believers, Sunday is the first day of the week, the day of the new creation, the day of the image of eternity, the day of the Light of Christ, the day of the gift of the Holy Spirit, the day of faith, and therefore a day that we cannot renounce. Sunday is thus the day of the Church. Christian tradition and practice say that the Eucharist is celebrated on this day, which is the heart of this day. On this day, we are especially conscious of the hope that the second coming of Christ into the world to his praise and glory will be a day of joy for us. We also refer to Sunday as “the day of man.” Man needs rest after the hard work of the week. And also, on this day, man is to experience fellowship with his brothers and sisters. Sunday thus encompasses the whole of human reality and becomes, in this understanding, a good for a man already here on earth. “A day of days” is also how one can speak of Sunday. We become aware of the meaning of time when we register changes in our lives and surroundings.
Sunday must be understood not only as a day of recreation, of rest, but also as a day when we celebrate the Eucharist amid our brothers and sisters, which is meant to have a central position, during which we are especially aware of the importance of giving thanks to God. The biblical sources point to the profound significance of the celebration of Sunday. Every Sunday is the day of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. The Resurrection of the Lord is the central mystery of the Christian faith, so the foundation of baptism and all new life in Christ. The Apostle St. Paul writes to the Romans about life in the Lord: “…whether we live, we live unto the Lord; whether we die, we die unto the Lord… we belong to the Lord” (Rom. 14:8) and points to Sunday as the Lord’s day. God the Father rested on the seventh day “from all the works that He had done” (Gen. 2:2). Sunday becomes for believers a day without end in the glory of God.
The observance of Sunday obliges the believing Christian to attend Holy Mass. However, there are cases when, because of severe circumstances such as illness, concern for the sick, great distance, or in an individual case, the believer is dispensed from attending Mass by his parish priest. Whoever does not knowingly and voluntarily fulfill the obligation to participate in the entire Mass commits a grave sin. Every believer should discover deep meaning in the celebration of Sunday, and together all of us believers are to protect the identity of Sunday.
Those who try to use Sunday for things, events that do not coincide with the Church’s teaching, quickly and often too late recognize the absurdity of their attitudes. Worldwide statistics speak of declining numbers of participation not only in the celebration of the Eucharist but also in the consecration of Sunday as the Lord’s Day. Such a trend does not mean that it is correct. We can ask ourselves, are those who transgress the commandments happier? The Arian parish priest St. John Vianney often reminded his faithful: “Two things bring on beggary: Sunday work and unrighteous possessions! What do you think? Will God bless the work with which we anger Him? Did not Peter fish all night in vain, but when the Lord Jesus commanded him to spread his nets, did he not catch so many fish at once that the boats were sinking?”
It has become a sad habit to work on Sunday. It behooves us to consider whether that work, though seemingly mundane and necessary, is so ordinary and necessary. We may convince ourselves that without God’s blessing, our labors are useless. We know that everything is temporary, but the Lord God is forever. Let us not be misled and led astray by the bad example and bad behavior of others. Many a conscience has been dulled, a heart hardened. They have many possessions, are well off, and others envy them, but they themselves feel there is nothing to envy. God is not hasty but remember. God’s mills grind slowly but surely.
It is right that we do not want to succumb to the pagan slogan, “Seize the day.” Yes, we should also rest, sleep longer, and more, but we should also do our duty and participate in the entire Holy Mass. Yes, also to take time for sports, for visiting, for tourism, for culture, but also to have time for the whole Holy Mass.
When the business co-owner persuaded them to work on Sundays as well, he received the answer from a friend: ‘In our home, only the most necessary and indispensable things were done on Sundays, and nothing was lacking, we were happy. Our family was strengthened, we visited the sick and friends, and we all enjoyed spending Sunday together. Even my children don’t do their homework on Sundays, and should I disrupt this blessed and well-established rhythm of life? No!”
The greed that the Lord Jesus warns us against is still relevant today. All the more reason to beware of it on Sundays as well.
It is beautiful to see festively dressed people calmly making their way to church for Sunday Mass. When a woman walks beside a man, it is a sign of the love they have pledged to each other at the altar, so their vow is strengthened. The young are the hope of the Church and of society. Know how to set them a good example. Those born earlier draw strength to meet God the Judge. Sunday is a day of graces.

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