Deacon Richard Sage’s Homily 2019-08-03 the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time

By | September 4, 2019

– Last weekend, our son David from the Twin Cities
area and his family were down at our house, and they were helping us with going through some of
our stuff, treasures, and we were in the basement, going through some areas, and I came walking
out of a storage room carrying a crate
of record albums, old 33 and my 14 year
old grandson saw me, and there was an audible gasp. (gasping) Where did you get those? I was able to tell him, these are originals. These are the ones
that we had got when we were in high
school or college or whatever the case
may be along the years. That’s what we used. I wish I could have some. I said, you can have some, but what are you
going to play it on? Do you have a turntable? No, and he turned to his dad and it was, no turntable. I said just a minute. I walked into the
other storage room. (audience laughing) and I came out and I
handed him a turntable, and he was delighted. The next day when he got home, he even sent me a
picture of it mounted already and playing and
working on his desk. Then a few minutes after
that little episode, we also had one of those, Mary’s family had one of
these great big trunks made of wood with
strapping around them and stuff like this, from decades probably
100 years ago. I don’t know, and we’ve been dragging
around with this for almost 50 years, and it weighs a ton, and so I said to David, I said come over
here and help me move this out a little
bit from the wall and we’ll see what’s in it. Mom tells me that there’s
a bunch of stuff from you from when you kids
were young, so we did, and he pulls it out, and we open the top, and there’s some
papers on the top and then he goes,
my box of rocks! (audience laughing) I thought you guys had
gotten rid of those a long time ago. I said, no I guess
they’re there, and she said, I know where every one of those rocks came from. When we went, and they
started pulling a couple out. He says, when we went
out to the Black Hills and saw Mt. Rushmore, we stopped along the road and I picked up
some rose quartz. Here it is. He was just thrilled
and delighted. We don’t have the
box of rocks anymore. He took them home. We’ve probably all
been somewhat bitten by a bug of accumulating
things, stuff, and sometimes it can be fed by a little bit of
human sentimentality be it mementos from grandma, something from our childhood, or even a box of rocks. It’s not how much you
possess that’s a problem but your attitude
towards what you possess. Happiness is not having
everything you want but being happy and
satisfied with what you have. So, how much is enough? Well we certainly need a
sufficient money and things to support our families with
the necessities of life. Food, clothing, shelter,
warmth, whatever, but after supplying
our necessities, where do we go from there? Do we go and keep
stockpiling more and more? Do we go in pursuit
of superfluous things? Do we need these
things for some sort of a false sense of security? I think that might be
in part of the message in today’s readings. Do we find ourselves
trusting more in what we have, or
what we can accumulate, than we trust in God to give
us this day our daily bread? The acquisition of things for
the sake of acquiring them, according to the first reading, is the most foolish
of all vices. No amount of possessions can
make our lives on Earth secure. We enrich ourselves not by
grabbing all we can in life, but by giving. Of course, we work to improve
our situation for ourselves and our families, but we need to heed
the words of Jesus. Make yourselves rich
in the sight of God. Let this be our priority. When things are going very well, it’s easy to forget some
of those important things. For example, how time flies by. How quickly the years
of our lives go by. How easy it is to
forget that things are beyond this
life, and this world, when things of this
life and this world, are going well for us. How easy to forget the words from that first reading,
vanity of vanities, here’s one who has labored
with wisdom and knowledge and great skill, and yet to another he
must leave his property. Life is short, and St. Paul instructs
us in the second reading, think of what is above,
not of what is on Earth. In today’s gospel reading, we’re admonished don’t be like that prosperous farmer, who says I have
many good things, stored up for years
of good living, so now let’s eat,
drink, and be merry. But God says, you fool. This night your life
will be demanded of you, and the things you
have stored up, to whom will they belong? God called the
successful farmer a fool, because he neglected three
very important things. He forgot God. He forgot eternal life. His wealth gave him that
false sense of immortality, and three, he forgot
his obligations to those who are in need. It seems from this passage
that Jesus wants us to store up nothing
in this world, which does not help us live life in the next world. Instead of old
sweaters and shoes, we can store up
kindness and compassion. Instead of umbrellas
and lawn chairs, we can store up
patience and generosity. Instead of wreaths,
ornaments, and knick knacks, we can store up faith,
hope, and charity. We can change. We can have a change of heart. Someone from the past,
you may remember, Charles Colson. He was the Special Counsel
to President Nixon. He was sometimes known
as Nixon’s hatchet man as he continued a special
role and relationship in the Nixon White
House for years. In 1974, he was
sentenced to and served seven months in federal prison for his role in Watergate. While in prison, he had a great personal
conversion in his life. After he was released, he
founded Prison Fellowship, which even today is the nation’s largest outreach to prisoners, ex prisoners, and
their families. He became a dedicated
Christian evangelist and was noted for his
Christian advocacy and collaborating work with
many Christian denominations. In his 1979 book, Life Sentence, he writes, “All my life, I labored for success,
wealth, acceptance, and power. The more I obtained,
the more I wanted, and the less I discovered I had. But while in prison, by
surrendering everything in absolute brokenness, was the beginning of
finding the identity and purpose for which
I had battled so hard. In giving up my life to Christ, I had found it.” St. Paul tells us to
seek what is above and think of what is above, not of what is on Earth. That’s our goal. To become rich in
what matters to God.

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