18th Sunday of the Year – A Life Without God Is No Life At All

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Study:  Recall a time when you were in difficulty and called upon God for help.  How did your faith give you direction and strength?

Pray:  Ask for the direction and strength you or a loved one needs right now.  Be specific and pray for guidance.

Serve:  Who in your life is struggling with faith right now?  How can you help them face their challenges?

18th Sunday Readings

The readings today offer some powerful thoughts for our reflection:

* Life (without God) is vanity [1st]
* Our life on earth is but a moment [psalm]
* Think of what is above [2nd]
* What good is treasure on earth? [gospel]

These points revolve around a single thought; namely, that a life without God is no life at all.

The first reading reminds us that without God no action or effort has meaning.  All of life appears as vanity when there is no purpose to our daily work.  If this world is all there is and death comes for everyone, then what is the point of trying at all?

Through the death and resurrection of Jesus we now have hope both in life and eternal life.  We no longer see death as the end; indeed, it is but a step that leads into the Kingdom of Heaven.

The psalm today teaches us that our lives on earth are brief; too often we can take for granted this moment, assuming that there will always be another day, another opportunity.  In the end we acknowledge that we are just pilgrims – traveling through this world as we journey toward the world to come.

The second reading shows us how to stay focused in our pilgrimage:  “Think of what is above.”  When we keep our eyes fixed on our ultimate destination it becomes far easier to stay the course.  By directing our attention on Jesus Christ we know who we are (His disciples) and where we are going (His Kingdom).

This focus on what is above helps us in two ways.  First it gives us the ability to recognize when we encounter situations that are not in harmony with our faith.  Simply put, we see temptations, sin, and evil for what they are.  Second, it allows us to call upon the one who helps us in our moments of trial.  Indeed, the one who died and rose for us gives us the strength we need.

Finally, in the Gospel reading Jesus draws out all these ideas through the parable of the greedy man.

* God is not a part of his life.
* He has no thought of his own mortality.
* He has no value greater than possessions.

And when put to the test he has nothing to show for his life; the last time I checked, there will be no moving van for our possessions at the cemetery.

About Fr. Andrew Ricci

A Catholic priest since 1997, Fr. Andrew Ricci is currently the rector of the Cathedral of Christ the King in Superior, WI. His website "Three Great Things" can be found at studyprayserve.com and his podcasts can be found under "Catholic Inspiration" in the iTunes store. View all posts by Fr. Andrew Ricci

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