Sunday Homily by Chanthip Phongkhamsavath 7-31-22

The Eighth Sunday After Pentecost

July 31, 2022


Good morning.


I looked at the readings earlier this week and the reflection was at the back of my mind for most of the week.  Getting caught in the midst of a laundry list of work and home tasks that seemed to take up the majority of my brain space.  I took a little time Friday to read the lessons again realizing that Sunday was quickly creeping up on me.  And then I went about my day and got caught up in the news and the billion dollar mega million jackpot drawing that was approaching that evening.  I had told a number of people the evening before that if they were going to buy a ticket to just buy one cause statistically it was all the same and it didn’t matter the number of tickets that were bought – the one lesson from my Statistics class years ago that really stuck with me – well it gets more complicated if you keep the same numbers over the course of different drawings – but I digress…


Anyways, as I

was driving to dinner I took a detour and decided to try my luck and buy just one ticket.  As I continued on my way I began to think about what I would do if I won – pay off the mortgage on my condo on my sister’s house…go on vacation…set up a foundation…there were a lot of different things. And at dinner my cousin and I – cause she had also bought a few mega million lotto tickets talked about what we would do if we won. If you’ve kept tabs on the news, needless to say neither one of us won – there is an individual or maybe group of people in Illinois who may be rejoicing in their luck and the wealth coming to them.


And since you’ve just heard the readings, maybe you can also sense where my reflection ended up taking me on Saturday.  Despite having sat on the readings and thinking about the message of not seeking wealth and that material things were not true treasures – I still fell into the lure of wealth and admit that yes it was greed as well that existed there.  I had my seemingly good intentions of setting up ways to give some of the winnings away, however gaining wealth and treasures for myself was still at the forefront.  It is an easy trap to fall into, one that advertising and consumerism plays into so much.


It felt a bit like I was living out the reading in real time this week – maybe not literally – however almost in spirit – “The more I called them, the more they went from me”


Despite having God’s words and teachings in the background and in theory being more focused on them than usual – since I knew I had to reflect on them – I still managed to not hear them.  A healthy reminder that although the words and lessons from the Bible may be outdated in the literal translation, they are still accurate in the spirit of what still drives us humans to this day. We have the benefit of coming together to reflect though, to be able whether daily, weekly, monthly or when our need is greatest to call to God and have faith that we will be delivered from our distress.


Although we may not literally be delivered from our immediate distress at least we have the opportunities to constantly reflect on how our daily lives live out the Lord’s teachings.  And how we have the daily opportunities then, to try and listen a little harder each day even if we falter, because we will.  At least we know that in the larger scheme of things we can begin to recognize in our own behaviors the lessons we continue to try and learn.


So although I will not say that I will never buy another lotto ticket, I can say that I will continue to try and listen to the Lord’s call and strive for a life that seeks to put at its center the values of what’s above – in God’s love and mercy – and not on the earthly material things that will not follow.  Amen.