Eccl 1, 2; 21-23; Col 5 1-5, 9-11; LK 12:13-21

Here are some stones I have overturned to see what ideas are underneath. I hope you can grab hold of something, pull -- and discover that it has some homiletic roots.

Avoid Greed. Grow rich by the standards of God rather than by the standards of the world.

The above statements are at the center of the Gospel this Sunday. They are challenges that need to be repeated often in the Western world and they are always worth preaching.

Several quotes come to mind whenever I read this Gospel:

You cant take it with you.

There is no sense being the richest man in the cemetery (Twain).

He who dies with the most toys wins.

He who dies with the most toys still dies.

Do you own your stuff; or does your stuff own you?

There are two things that are guaranteed in life: Death and Taxes.

Nobody gets out alive.

These can all be stepping stones to particular homily ideas; for they all remind us of a few important points: (1) that the material things we accumulate throughout our lives will mean nothing at the gates of heaven -- nothing positive, at least -- (2) that our stuff oftentimes has more of an effect on us than we have on it -- in other words, it makes us do things or operate in a certain way rather than the other way around and (3) that we all will die.

With the busyness of life it is very easy to forget about our own deaths -- especially if we are young and healthy. With the busyness of life it is easy to dismiss our mortality and put off what should be our constant preparation for the death which we all must face. With the busyness of life it is easy to disregard the interconnectedness of our daily choices and not recognize the combined impact they may have on our ability to face God in right relationship. Choices matter. Choices matter.

How do we prepare ourselves? How do we get ready? How will we be sure that the Lord recognizes us? What are the right choices to make during our day? The end of Matthew chapter 25 reads -- Then the king will say to those on his right, Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me. Although we do not know the day or the hour of the second coming of Christ -- Although we do not know the day or the hour of our own deaths, we have been told what the important choices to make are. It seems that if we hear the response from the Lord -- Amen, I say to you, I do not know you -- it will be because of our foolishness and not because of a lack of mercy or justice on the part of the Lord.

Jesus wants to make sure that this is not a pop quiz -- a surprise test. He gives us straight-forward advice in the Gospel today. It is plain and clear.

Our job is to make sure we heed this advice.

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