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Sunday, July 31, 2016

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18th Sunday Ordinary Time

Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23
Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11
Psalm 90:3-6, 11-14, 17
Luke 12:13-21

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a bomb

"Relax! Eat heartily, drink well. Enjoy yourself." —Luke 12:19

The late Fr. Rick Thomas said that the verse quoted above, Luke 12:19, is the most obeyed verse in the Bible. However, God's reaction to those who live out this verse is: "You fool! This very night your life shall be required of you. To whom will all this piled-up wealth of yours go?" (Lk 12:20) The Lord does not consider the "good life" of relaxation and enjoyment to be that good. This comes as a shock to us who have been taught to base our lives on, and save our money for, entertainment, relaxation, and enjoyment.

Today's Gospel reading is like a bomb which would destroy our whole lives if we let it explode by believing it. Yet, if we don't lose our lives now, they won't be saved for eternity (see Lk 9:24). "What profit does he show who gains the whole world and destroys himself in the process?" (Lk 9:25) We can believe God's Word now and let it be like a hammer shattering our lives (see Jer 23:29), or we can maintain the status quo, hoping today's Gospel reading doesn't mean what it seems to mean.

As we look to the future, we naturally have feelings of insecurity. We know that death awaits us, if Jesus doesn't return first. We know that suffering, sickness, and pain probably lie ahead. These prospects will leave us insecure unless our lives are built on the rock of obedience to God's Word (Mt 7:24). The best thing we can do is to obey God's Word, no matter what the immediate consequences.

Prayer:  Father, may my life be based on Your Word, which will last forever (see Lk 21:33).

Promise:  "Since you have been raised up in company with Christ, set your heart on what pertains to higher realms where Christ is seated at God's right hand." —Col 3:1-2

Praise:  "Give thanks to the Lord for He is good, for His mercy endures forever" (Ps 118:1). Alleluia!

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, January 20, 2016

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