FIRST READING: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
2Vanity of vanities, says the Teacher,
vanity of vanities! All is vanity.
12I, the Teacher, when king over Israel in Jerusalem, 13applied my mind to seek and to search out by wisdom all that is done under heaven; it is an unhappy business that God has given to human beings to be busy with. 14I saw all the deeds that are done under the sun; and see, all is vanity and a chasing after wind.
2:18I hated all my toil in which I had toiled under the sun, seeing that I must leave it to those who come after me 19—and who knows whether they will be wise or foolish? Yet they will be master of all for which I toiled and used my wisdom under the sun. This also is vanity. 20So I turned and gave my heart up to despair concerning all the toil of my labors under the sun, 21because sometimes one who has toiled with wisdom and knowledge and skill must leave all to be enjoyed by another who did not toil for it. This also is vanity and a great evil. 22What do mortals get from all the toil and strain with which they toil under the sun? 23For all their days are full of pain, and their work is a vexation; even at night their minds do not rest. This also is vanity.
PSALM: Psalm 49:1-12 - please read responsively
1Hear this, all you peoples; give ear, all you who dwell in the world,
2you of high degree and low, rich and poor together.
3My mouth shall speak of wisdom, and my heart shall meditate on understanding.
4I will incline my ear to a proverb and set forth my riddle upon the harp.
5Why should I be afraid in evil days,
when the wickedness of those at my heels surrounds me,
6the wickedness of those who trust in their own prowess,
and boast of their great riches?
7One can never redeem another, or give to God the ransom for another's life;
8for the ransom of a life is so great that there would never be enough to pay it,
9in order to live forever and ever and never see the grave.
10For we see that the wise die also; like the dull and stupid they perish
and leave their wealth to those who come after them.
11Their graves shall be their homes forever,
their dwelling places from generation to generation,
though they had named lands after themselves.
12Even though honored, they cannot live forever;
they are like the beasts that perish.
P: The holy gospel according to St. Luke, the 12th chapter.
C: Glory to you, O Lord.
13 Someone out of the crowd said, “Teacher, order my brother to give me a fair share of the family inheritance.” 14 He replied, “Mister, what makes you think it’s any of my business to be a judge or mediator for you?” 15 Speaking to the people, he went on, “Take care! Protect yourself against the least bit of greed. Life is not defined by what you have, even when you have a lot.”
16-19 Then he told them this story: “The farm of a certain rich man produced a terrific crop. He talked to himself: ‘What can I do? My barn isn’t big enough for this harvest.’ Then he said, ‘Here’s what I’ll do: I’ll tear down my barns and build bigger ones. Then I’ll gather in all my grain and goods, and I’ll say to myself, Self, you’ve done well! You’ve got it made and can now retire. Take it easy and have the time of your life!’
20 “Just then God showed up and said, ‘Fool! Tonight you die. And your barnful of goods - who gets it?’ 21 “That’s what happens when you fill your barn with Self and not with God.”
22-24 He continued this subject with his disciples. “Don’t fuss about what’s on the table at mealtimes or if the clothes in your closet are in fashion. There is far more to your inner life than the food you put in your stomach, more to your outer appearance than the clothes you hang on your body. Look at the ravens, free and unfettered, not tied down to a job description, carefree in the care of God. And you count far more.
25-28 “Has anyone by fussing before the mirror ever gotten taller by so much as an inch? If fussing can’t even do that, why fuss at all? Walk into the fields and look at the wildflowers. They don’t fuss with their appearance—but have you ever seen color and design quite like it? The ten best-dressed men and women in the country look shabby alongside them. If God gives such attention to the wildflowers, most of them never even seen, don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you?
29-32 “What I’m trying to do here is get you to relax, not be so preoccupied with getting so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep yourself in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met. Don’t be afraid of missing out. You’re my dearest friends! The Father wants to give you the very kingdom itself.
P: The Gospel of the Lord.
C: Praise to you, O Christ.
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