Q : 
Should Ecclesiastes be considered as nihilism or pessimism?
【 Question from 】 Hong Kong 香港

Fr. Francis : 

No. Although the author in numerous places seem to be pessimistic about the use of doing any good, at his heart he is really only criticising. Those who believe in worldly success and wealth. He concluded that seeking worldly wisdom, toiling for worldly goods, amassing worldly pleasures, etc., are all futile, since at the end the wise and the fool, the rich and the poor, the honoured and dishonoured, all have the same fate.

He made two main recommendations: 1) to enjoy life and have mirth, and 2) to praise and honour God.

From these last two we see that the author is truly wise. Maybe what he lacks is the need to zealously toil for God. But his teaching is actually quite correct. We must go after the business of praising and honouring God above everything else. Life is a gift from God for us to enjoy, provided we are grounded in doing God’s will. One who follows God should not be too serious about himself, but be serious about God’s business. For such a person there are no worries, for his heart trusts in the Lord, and from that trust comes the peace and joy that the world cannot give. Such are the enjoyment and mirth that the wise author refers to.