THE SERVANT GENERAL
THINGS ARE VANITY
Today’s reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2-11
The Hebrew superlative “vanity of vanities” expresses
utmost futility and emptiness and absurdity. It is radical
skepticism about life. It is the sense of powerlessness and
inability to change things for the better. Even God is remote
Now in the work of evangelization and trying to make the world
a better place, Christians often experience the same frustrations.
Our efforts seem to come to nothing. Evil still thrives. God
seems not to be helping out. Why is it so hard to bring people
to faith in Jesus? Why is it such a challenge to effectively
proclaim the gospel? Why do Christian leaders fight among
themselves? Why is there even the enemy within the Church?
“What profit have we from all the toil which we toil
at under the sun?” (v.3). Is our work worth all the
sweat and tears? “One generation departs and another
generation comes, but the world forever stays.” (v.4).
With all the work of the Church, people are the same from
generation to generation, or perhaps are getting worse. We
actually are losing Catholics by the day. “All things
are wearisome, too wearisome for words.” (v.8a). We
are tired, dejected, and just about ready to give up. “What
has been, that will be; what has been done, that will be done.
Nothing is new under the sun!” (v.9). Things certainly
seem to be beyond our control. We seem to be flowing with
the tide. Can we actually hope to change people and the world
for the better?
Now we have the call to the New Evangelization. But evangelization
is 2,000 years old. “Even the thing of which we say,
‘See, this is new!’ has already existed in the
ages that preceded us.” (v.10). It has been 2,000 years
of Christianity, but when the Son of Man returns, will he
find faith on earth?
Well, our call and mission have always been a challenge. Jesus
did not say it was going to be easy. On the contrary. But
God expects us to endure and persevere. We leave the fruit
up to God. We simply rejoice in the privilege of having been
given the responsibility for mission. We fully trust in him
who suffered and died for us, and with whom we look forward
to spending eternity in heaven.
Now that is not vanity.