HOMILY for the 29th Mon per annum (II)
Today’s readings remind us that we are created for communion with God for that is why God restored us to friendship with him through Christ; that is why he gives us his grace. As the Catechism says: “Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life” (CCC 1997). And because we have this communion with God, so we are also called into communion with one another.
The problem with the rich man in the Gospel isn’t that he was prudent and worked hard, earned a living, and invested things away for a rainy day. These are important and necessary. However, he became so caught up in his work, in making money and managing his investments, that he became self-obsessed with himself and his things, in seeking pleasure just for himself. Thus, his possession didn’t build communion, but cut him off from others. He was no longer in communion with others, and the implication is, neither was he in communion with God. He simply hadn’t the time for them, and so he couldn’t love God or neighbour, for the two come together. Instead he loved himself and his stuff.
How often do we find ourselves in that situation, with little of no time for our families, our friends, housemates, and for God, rushing from one thing to another? Or perhaps we’re in danger of focussing so much on our work and its goals that we neglect the vital relationships in our life? We’re meant to love people and use things to help us build relationships and communion with others. But instead we often seem to use people and love things. So, Blessed John Paul II who is commemorated today, said that “however true it may be that man is destined for work and called to it, in the first place work is ‘for man’ and not man ‘for work’”.
For everything we do, and the things we own and earn, are to serve a reason and a purpose. Not just survival, or to maximize our own selfish pleasures, but, to improve our relationships with one another, to enable us to spend time together and communicate better so that our lives are more gracious and loving. For it is in relationship with others, in love for another, that our truest pleasure and lasting good lies. And our greatest good, of course, is found in God, in a living relationship with him who is Love itself.
But I suppose you already know this, for isn’t that why we’re here? We take time out of our busy days to find some quiet, to make time for communion with God and our neighbour. For this opportunity, and for the grace that has brought us here, we give God thanks and praise.