The greatest glory in the world
It isn't new. In ancient Greece, Olympic champions were actually considered divine and in at least one case immune from prosecution (one champion literally got away with murder). Even in ancient Israel, people deferred to the rich and the powerful and considered them blessed by God.
But, the real truth is that such glory is not only fleeting, it can also be insidiously deadly, both for those who enjoy it and for those who envy it.
Today’s first reading tells of a prince who has generated great wealth for himself, much like those who enjoy financial success in our own day.
By your wisdom and your intelligence you have made riches for yourself; You have put gold and silver into your treasuries. By your great wisdom applied to your trading you have heaped up your riches; your heart has grown haughty from your riches.
But the prince has grown arrogant, ignoring God and looking only to his own wealth and abilities for happiness and security. Yet he will die, and his glory and riches will avail him nothing.
So too our Lord warns that the rich (whom conventional wisdom considers blessed by God) will have an extremely hard time getting into the kingdom of God. The first shall be last.
When death comes, the greatest glory in the world will fade into nothingness.
Sooner or later (and it could be very, very soon), you and I are going to die. Perhaps we are not rich or famous, but perhaps we do derive our feelings of happiness and security from material things or from what other people think of us. If that is what we rely on, then when death strips us of all these things, we will be so empty and alone that even the memory of them will be painful – intensely painful.
The only thing that we can take with us in death is our relationship with God. If we use or experience the things of this world in ways that distract from that relationship, we will find ourselves in a very bad position when the final journey comes. If however we use the things of this world according to His will, for the good of those in need and for His glory, we can help build up our relationship with God through the infinite merits of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
Do not be distracted. Stay focused on the Lord.