Today’s texts offer instruction and encouragement for all who are occasionally overwhelmed by the “unhappy business” of life. Jesus urges us to take care and be on guard against all kinds of greed. We who have died with Christ in holy baptism have also been raised with him and are encouraged to elevate our thinking, seeking the “things that are above.” To that end we seek the sustenance of the Lord’s supper and the encouragement of God’s word.
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The Lessons: (Link to the Readings)
First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
The teacher of wisdom who wrote Ecclesiastes sees that working for mere accumulation of wealth turns life into an empty game, a “vanity of vanities.” Nevertheless, he asserts in the next verse, it is good to find enjoyment in one’s work because such enjoyment is a gift from God.
Psalm: Psalm 49:1-12
My mouth shall speak of wisdom. (Ps. 49:3)
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-11
Life in Christ includes a radical reorientation of our values. Just as the newly baptized shed their old clothes and put on new garments, so Christians are called to let go of greed and take hold of a life shaped by God’s love in Christ.
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
In God’s reign, the “rich will be sent away empty.” Jesus uses a parable to warn against identifying the worth of one’s life with the value of one’s possessions rather than one’s relationship with God.
Benevolent God, you are the source, the guide, and the goal of our lives. Teach us to love what is worth loving, to reject what is offensive to you, and to treasure what is precious in your sight, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord.