Today’s readings focus on the foolishness of trusting in oneself rather than in God. Earthly possessions and prestige give no reward. They are only vanity, as the writer points out in Ecclesiastes. Ultimately vanity is a cause for sorrow rather than joy.
Jesus gets much more specific. His parable tells of a man who felt smug and satisfied by all his possessions, little knowing he would die that very night. He would reap no benefit from all his hard work. He had no joy.
“For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart
with which he has labored under the sun? All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation; even at night his mind is not at rest.”
The point is not to disparage hard work, or even the collection of possessions. The point is not to become consumed with this false satisfaction at the expense of joy. True happiness comes from loving relationship — with God and with each other. If we think that possessions or security will give joy, we are wrong. In the end, all is vanity!