Thursday of the Twenty-fifth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ecclesiastes 1:2-11; Luke 9:7-9)
A philosopher tried to explain the need to rationally set goals for one’s life. He said that those who make money their goal might think again. Money – he went on -- is only an instrument. Then he questioned some of the things that money can buy. Swimming in the ocean? One can do that without money, and so forth. The philosopher was heading in the same direction as Qoheleth in today’s first reading.
Qoheleth – the name is translated loosely as preacher or teacher – warns that all human endeavors are ultimately in vain. You want to become rich? Your riches will mean less and less as you grow old. You want to become famous? You will soon be forgotten when you leave the scene. You want to add something to the treasury of wisdom? As another philosopher once said, “All philosophy is but footnotes to Plato.” Qoheleth’s teaching undermines all of the supposed goods of life.
But is everything really worthless? Perhaps it seemed so when Qoheleth wrote in the third or fourth century before Christ. But this man, whom King Herod wanted so much to meet, has revealed something of permanent value. He assures us that if we work for the Kingdom of God, our hopes will not be disappointed. He tells us that seeking God’s justice will bring us eternal glory.