There is an admirable unity in the message of today’s three readings from Ecclesiastes, Colossians, and Luke. A simple message that, frankly, we don’t like to hear, but that is worth repeating because it is really important. In the words of Ecclesiastes: “Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.” In the words of Paul’s letter to the Colossians: “Since you have been raised with Christ (in baptism), seek the things that are above, where Christ is… Set your minds on things that are above, for you have died (in baptism), and your life is hidden with Christ in God. In the words of the gospel: “One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.”
Indeed, let’s be honest: we don’t like being reminded that all the good things that the present life gives us, all the things that make life worth living, will be taken from us one day. I remember, as a child, in reaction to being told that we are destined for eternal life in Heaven, thinking “I don’t want eternal life in Heaven; I want this life to go on forever!”
My views have since changed. Back then, I was a child. I knew only the good side of life. Now, I have lived long enough to have a fuller picture of life. When all is said and done, this life really is disappointing, if not for all, at least for a multitude. And in any case, as the Scriptures point out, in the end, it will all be taken away. But the flip-side of this reality is that it’s okay, because like booster engines on a space rocket, all the goods of the earth that are so dear to us were never intended to be permanent. They were intended simply for the duration of our time on this earth. This is not our permanent home. We are strangers and sojourners on this earth. Heaven is our real home, our ultimate destination. In his Providence, God provides us with the goods that we need for the duration of our time on earth. Understandably, given the limitations of what we can perceive in this life, we take these passing goods to be, in life, “as good as it gets”, and so we grasp at them, we cling to them.
But we are so much more, destined to so much more, than this life and the goods with which it provides us. Yes, of course, it’s okay to strive for those goods which God knows we need in order to “live and to live well”, as Aristotle puts it. But by the grace of God, may we never lose sight of the big picture. There is so much more to life than this life, and the goods it provides. We are alive in Christ, and what we shall be in the fullness of life that God has prepared for us is more, much more than we can hope for or even imagine. So yes, let us live our human lives with our hands and feet on the ground, as we must, but with our hearts and our minds in Heaven.
. . . . . . .
On a different note, we at the building committee feel the need to provide you with an update, since it’s been a long time since we ‘ve given you one. We’re still there, still “kicking” as they say, working hard to make this building project a reality. We wish we could say more, but the problem is that when we share plans and intentions that are only tentative, they tend to quickly be transformed into “facts” in the process of being spread. This results in confusion and has the potential to derail our process. Hence our silence with respect to what we are aiming at. What we can say at this point is that we have a developer who is interested in negotiating with us, and that the current slow-down is due to the fact that all parties, including the Archdiocese, are exercising due diligence to ensure that the legal groundwork is done to the highest standards, since the impact of whatever we ultimately decide to do will be extremely important and very long-term. There is no room for risk or error. We will update you the moment we have something firm to share with you. Thank you all, for your support, patience, and understanding.
Fr. Guy, for the Building Committee