Primary Focus – Fr. Viet Nguyen

Fr. Viet Nguyen’s Homily August 4, 2019

“What do you value most in your life?  What are you most proud of in your life?  And if you were to die tonight, you know to meet God, would there be something you would be proud of to show him, to tell him?  You know, maybe this is something we should always do throughout or lives, to think of this because the things we value really should be things of God.  In today’s readings, all three readings are really about detachment of Earthly things, a healthy detachment of Earthly things, but especially in this gospel reading where this man tears down his barns to make new ones.  It makes me think of what we have in our world today. We have storage units and I’ve seen them come up more and more throughout the years, these storage units and I wonder how this came to be? Now they’ve even become very high-tech, there are temperature controlled storage units, but when I think of storage units, I think of the image that I’ve never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.  You can’t take it with you when you die. They Egyptians tried it and they got robbed, so we can really learn from that. You can’t really take it with you. All the things that we accumulate in our lives, we can’t take it with us, so it makes you reflect. Is it all that important? Are we grasping at things in our lives, just that thing, possessions? Is a thing we’re excited about or working in our lives just another possession?  When I think of grasping or the things that we want to gain, the image that comes to mind is of grabbing sand. Have you ever been on a beach and try to grab sand? The very act of grasping for, really the sand slips from your fingers when you grasp for it and the only way to have it is to truly be able to receive it in a cupped hand, but that is a spiritual lesson in life that the very things you grasp at, you end up losing. So what are the things in our lives we’re grasping at?  Is it really what we value, really what we want?

Today’s first reading, the reading from Ecclesiastes, Qoheleth, is a wise man given the wisdom of Solomon and he’s lived a great life and he’s not one who regrets or didn’t like the material things of life.  He lived a fantastic life of pleasures and materials, but in the reading of the first reading, what does he say? He says, ‘Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.’ And really the translation, the original word they use, the meaning kinda meant something like vapor, like bubbles.  It just comes and it goes, so someone who had experienced it all and the lesson they have for us is that it’s just like vapor. It goes. I think if you met people in a nursing home and I have myself, they would tell you the same thing, they worked all their lives and now they realize that it was for nothing, that the one thing they wanted it wasn’t really it, so today in the Gospel Jesus reminds us to stay away from greed.  Do not be greedy. Do not grasp for more, but how do we do this? Sometimes even for us maybe it’s not an intentional thing that we want to do in our lives where we just kind of fall into it, we’re just following others and just end up being there. Well it’s times like this where we really reflect on our lives, take time in prayer to really see our lives as Christ does and that’s what in the second reading St. Paul tells us to do that if we’re truly Christians, believers of Christ, that we believe he rose from the dead and that we will one day as well, but if we believe then we should look not of the Earthly things of our world, but look up to Heaven and that’s not to say that Earthly things are bad, so I’m not saying that the Earthly material things are bad and we should only do spiritual things.  That’s a very dualistic point of view and that’s not biblical, but the point is to have a healthy detachment of Earthly things, to keep it in right relationship with us, to keep others in right relationship with us. The point is in greed is that when an object becomes our primary focus in our life instead of a relationship. So I ask you, what is the primary focus of your life? Is it your job? Is it school? Is it something in the future or is it a relationship? Is it a relationship with God, a relationship of growing within yourself, or a relationship with your family? These are the things we have to look at to reflect often, so as you come to receive the Lord today where Christ is truly present before you, let us continue to ask the Lord for the strength and courage to look at our lives honestly, to see it hopefully as he does so that we can change if we need to and if we need to sometimes it might be painful, but to bring it to him, to bring it to Christ and ask him to help purify our hearts and our very values and intentions in our lives.  Amen.”