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Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time — July 31, 2022

Bishop’s Reflections

July 31, 2022

Every Sunday, Bishop Edward Malesic writes a Scripture reflection for the faithful. Follow the bishop on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Click HERE for the readings.

Eighteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time — July 31, 2022

“Vanity of vanities,” begins the Book of Ecclesiastes, our First Reading today. It continues by emphasizing, “All things are vanity!”

Qoheleth, the author, is not using the word “vanity” with our typical understanding of it. He uses the word in a different sense. “Vanity” for him means something that is fleeting, temporary, like smoke that comes for a time and then vanishes in mid-air. Vanity, in this sense, is at the heart of the statement, “You are dust and unto dust you shall return” (Genesis 3:19).

One would wonder whether Qoheleth was a bit depressed, seeming to write that life is pointless. It is pointless — if all we do is focus on this life. But there is more to life than what we see. There is more to life than what this earth contains.

For the Christian believer there is good news that responds to the fleeting nature of this world. The soul is eternal. Heaven awaits. And, even more, resurrection of the body (which will be a new and glorified body, like the body of Jesus after his Resurrection) is promised to us at the end of time if we pick up the crosses of this life and follow Jesus with faith.

We work at getting so much in this life that is actually “vanity.” And, don’t get me wrong, God wants us to enjoy the fruits of his creation. But we must work for those things that endure even more. We must put things in order of importance. The eternal is much more important than the temporary.

That’s the point of the parable that Jesus gives in the Gospel. A man built extra bins for the excess grain he had harvested. But on the night, he filled his extra bins he died. “God said to him, ‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you: and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’” And Jesus concluded with this statement. “Thus, will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God?” He should have shared some of his excess wealth with others out of love.

Please pray for Bishop-elect Michael Woost as I ordain him as a bishop this week. He has been appointed by our Holy Father Pope Francis to be our next auxiliary bishop in the Diocese of Cleveland.

Have a blessed week everyone.

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