“Vanity of vanities,” says the Preacher;
“Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
What profit has a man from all his labor
In which he toils under the sun?
. . .I said in my heart, “Come now, I will test you with mirth; therefore enjoy pleasure”; but surely, this also was vanity. . ..
Whatever my eyes desired I did not keep from them.
I did not withhold my heart from any pleasure,
For my heart rejoiced in all my labor;
And this was my reward from all my labor.
Then I looked on all the works that my hands had done
And on the labor in which I had toiled;
And indeed all was vanity and grasping for the wind.
There was no profit under the sun.
Pulling a little here and there from Ecclesiastes (1:2 – 2:11).
And today’s Gospel reading, Luke 12:16-21:
The Lord said this parable: “The land of a rich man brought forth plentifully; and he thought to himself, ‘What shall I do, for I have nowhere to store my crops?’ And he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns, and build larger ones; and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, ‘Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; take your ease, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘Fool! This night your soul is required of you; and the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So is he who lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.” As he said these things, he cried out: “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”
For those of you who are not Orthodox, we have a cycle of readings for each Sunday (well, every day, actually) of the year. Some readings you can tell why they are read on a certain Sunday. I’m not sure why we read this parable today, but maybe we read it during the Nativity Fast as a reminder of what we are called to do during this time of year. So maybe by abstaining from worldly things, we can store up treasures in heaven, instead vain things here which will be useless to us in the next life.