With an Eye Towards Heaven This Sunday’s first reading offers us a passage from the Book of Ecclesiastes. The book tells us that its author is named Qoheleth. We do not know anything about this Qoheleth except one thing: he is not happy. While Ecclesiastes offers us many beautiful passages, its overall tone is one of gloom, skepticism, and frustration. That is not necessarily a bad thing because, if we read Ecclesiastes in light of the world’s fixation on materialism, especially in conjunction with today’s Gospel reading, then it makes perfect sense for any true disciple that Jesus Christ makes all the difference.
Ecclesiastes gives us the famous phrase “there is nothing new under the sun.” This is proven true in that the root of Qoheleth’s frustration over some twenty-three hundred years ago is the same for many people today: every thing, every person, every labor and its fruit, all of these things are finite and will pass away. This doesn’t mean that we just shrug our shoulders and give up, but this reality invites the disciple to ask his or herself a vital question:
“why do I do what I do” or, put another way, “what motivates me in life?”
In the end, what do you want? Do you want to be like the man in this Sunday’s Gospel who labored for the things of this world but who did not live long to enjoy them or do you want labor for the things of heaven, the things that “matter to God” as Jesus says in today’s Gospel passage?
Everything that a disciple does, be it word or deed, is to be done with an eye towards heaven or, more aptly, with an eye towards God.
God alone is eternal and the good news for us is that he wants us to share eternity with him in heaven. This does not mean that we cannot enjoy the fruits of our labors or the “good things” of this life, but if our ultimate desires are for comfort and wealth or the things of this world then we will be sorely disappointed in the end.
The tragedy for Qoheleth is that he did not know Jesus Christ, being that he lived in a time before the Lord’s coming. This is not the case for us. We are invited to grow deeper each day in our knowledge of and relationship with Jesus and to derive our hope and comfort from his true promise of everlasting life with him in heaven.
The more we come to know the Lord and value the life he freely offers, the easier it is to live our lives each day with an eye towards heaven.
Look at what the world will ultimately offers us. Look at what Jesus Christ will ultimately offer us. The choice should be obvious.
Father Christopher House is the Rector of the Cathedral and serves in various leadership roles within the diocesan curia, namely Chancellor and Vicar Judicial.