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Friends, today in our Gospel, Jesus tells of a rich man who has been so successful that he doesn’t have enough space to store his harvest. So he tears down his barns and builds bigger ones. But that very night, he dies—and all of it comes to naught. “Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself but is not rich in what matters to God.”

No matter how good, how beautiful a state of affairs is here below, it is destined to pass into nonbeing. That sunset that I enjoyed last night—that radiantly beautiful display—is now forever gone. It lasted only a while. That beautiful person—attractive, young, full of life, creative, joyful—will eventually age, get sick, break down, and die. 

An image that always comes to mind when I think of these things is the gorgeous firework that bursts open like a giant flower and then, in the twinkling of an eye, is gone forever. Everything is haunted by nonbeing. Everything, finally, is a bubble.

But this is not meant to depress us; it is meant to redirect our attention precisely to the things that are “above,” to the eternity of God.