First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2, 12-14; 2:18-23
The teacher of wisdom who wrote Ecclesiastes sees that working for mere accumulation of wealth turns life into an empty game, a “vanity of vanities.” Nevertheless, he asserts in the next verse, it is good to find enjoyment in one’s work because such enjoyment is a gift from God.
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
My mouth shall speak of wisdom. (Ps. 49:3)
1Hear this, | all you peoples;
give ear, all you who dwell | in the world,
2you of high de- | gree 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 up- | on the harp. R
5Why should I be afraid in | evil days,
when the wickedness of those at my | heels surrounds me,
6the wickedness of those who put their trust in | their own prowess,
and boast of | their great riches?
7One can never re- | deem another,
or give to God the ransom for an- | other’s life;
8for the ransom of a life | is so great
that there would never be e- | nough to pay it,
9in order to live forev- | er and ever
and never | see the grave.
10For we see that the wise die also; like the dull and stu- | pid 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 af- | ter themselves.
12Even though honored, they cannot | live forever;
they are like the | beasts that perish. R
Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-11
Life in Christ includes a radical reorientation of our values. Just as the newly baptized shed their old clothes and put on new garments, so Christians are called to let go of greed and take hold of a life shaped by God’s love in Christ.
1So if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, 3for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly: fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and greed (which is idolatry). 6On account of these the wrath of God is coming on those who are disobedient. 7These are the ways you also once followed, when you were living that life. 8But now you must get rid of all such things—anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive language from your mouth. 9Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have stripped off the old self with its practices 10and have clothed yourselves with the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge according to the image of its creator. 11In that renewal there is no longer Greek and Jew, circumcised and uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave and free; but Christ is all and in all!
Gospel: Luke 12:13-21
In God’s reign, the “rich will be sent away empty.” Jesus uses a parable to warn against identifying the worth of one’s life with the value of one’s possessions rather than one’s relationship with God.
13Someone in the crowd said to [Jesus,] “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the family inheritance with me.” 14But he said to him, “Friend, who set me to be a judge or arbitrator over you?” 15And he said to them, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” 16Then he told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. 17And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ 18Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. 19And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ 20But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ 21So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.”
Semicontinuous First Reading: Hosea 11:1-11
Hosea compares God’s love for Israel to the love parents have for their children. Whether teaching toddlers to walk or dealing with a child’s rebellion, good parents continue to love their children as they try to lead them to life. In the same way, God’s love will not let Israel go.
1When Israel was a child, I loved him,
and out of Egypt I called my son.
2The more I called them,
the more they went from me;
they kept sacrificing to the Baals,
and offering incense to idols.
3Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk,
I took them up in my arms;
but they did not know that I healed them.
4I led them with cords of human kindness,
with bands of love.
I was to them like those
who lift infants to their cheeks.
I bent down to them and fed them.
5They shall return to the land of Egypt,
and Assyria shall be their king,
because they have refused to return to me.
6The sword rages in their cities,
it consumes their oracle-priests,
and devours because of their schemes.
7My people are bent on turning away from me.
To the Most High they call,
but he does not raise them up at all.
8How can I give you up, Ephraim?
How can I hand you over, O Israel?
How can I make you like Admah?
How can I treat you like Zeboiim?
My heart recoils within me;
my compassion grows warm and tender.
9I will not execute my fierce anger;
I will not again destroy Ephraim;
for I am God and no mortal,
the Holy One in your midst,
and I will not come in wrath.
10They shall go after the Lord,
who roars like a lion;
when he roars,
his children shall come trembling from the west.
11They shall come trembling like birds from Egypt,
and like doves from the land of Assyria;
and I will return them to their homes, says the Lord.
Semicontinuous Psalm: Psalm 107:1-9, 43
We give thanks to you, Lord, for your wonderful works. (Ps. 107:8)
1Give thanks to the Lord, for the | Lord is good,
for God’s mercy en- | dures forever.
2Let the redeemed of the | Lord proclaim
that God redeemed them from the hand | of the foe,
3gathering them in | from the lands;
from the east and from the west, from the north and | from the south.
4Some wandered in | desert wastes;
they found no path to a city where | they might dwell.
5They were hun- | gry and thirsty;
their spirits lan- | guished within them.
6Then in their trouble they cried | to the Lord,
and you delivered them from | their distress. R
7You led them | on a straight path
to go to a city where | they might dwell.
8Let them give thanks to you, Lord, for your | steadfast love
and your wonderful works | for all people.
9For you satisfy the | thirsty soul
and fill the hungry | with good things.
43Whoever is wise will pon- | der these things,
and consider well the Lord’s | steadfast love. R