Week 18: Sunday

“Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth, vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!” (Ecclesiastes 1:2.)

Saint Gregory of Nyssa (part 2 of the background of Saint Gregory of Nyssa is found here) offers the following insight on this verse from today’s First Reading:

“Vanity may be described as something which lacks existence but exists only in the utterance of this word. The reality behind the word is nonexistent; only the letters transmit a useless, empty sound. These meaningless sounds randomly strike the ear as in a game when we create names which lack meaning. This is one form of vanity. Another refers to persons who zealously accumulate objects with no goal in mind. For example, children’s sand buildings, the shooting at stars with arrows, trapping the wind and racing with one’s shadow while trying to reach its head. If we take another example, we see that they all fall under the term “vanity.” Often human custom calls vanity the looking towards a goal and the pursuit of something profitable; should a person do something contrary or foolish, he invests his energy to no avail. This is too is called vanity. [And] so “vanity of vanities” demonstrates the incomparable excess of vanity.” (Homilies on Ecclesiastes, 1.)

Reflections on "to see" and "to guard" from Sunday’s Mass (Ordinary Time, Week 18).

Draw near to Your servants, O Lord,
and answer their prayers with unceasing kindness,
that, for those who glory in
You as their Creator and guide,
You may restore what You have created
and keep safe what You have restored.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
Who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Glory to the Father
and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen