The fight against greed

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Lk 12,13-21

 A man in the crowd said to him, ‘Master, tell my brother to give me a share of our inheritance.’ He said to him, ‘My friend, who appointed me your judge, or the arbitrator of your claims?’ Then he said to them, ‘Watch, and be on your guard against avarice of any kind, for life does not consist in possessions, even when someone has more than he needs.’

Then he told them a parable, ‘There was once a rich man who, having had a good harvest from his land, thought to himself, “What am I to do? I have not enough room to store my crops.” Then he said, “This is what I will do: I will pull down my barns and build bigger ones, and store all my grain and my goods in them, and I will say to my soul: My soul, you have plenty of good things laid by for many years to come; take things easy, eat, drink, have a good time.” But God said to him, “Fool! This very night the demand will be made for your soul; and this hoard of yours, whose will it be then?” So it is when someone stores up treasure for himself instead of becoming rich in the sight of God.

The Lord does not take care of everything when he is asked, thus giving us an example of what is and is not on our way. The one who is called to preach the gospel should take good care not to interfere in worldy things. Also a counsel that the Church as a whole should accept. Careful consideration must be made in the Spirit of God of what is helpful to spread of the Gospel and what distracts. This is especially true for those who serve a priestly vocation or have even been called into an religious order, but also for Christians who live in the world. Don’t get involved in everything and don’t get drawn into everything …

The greed (and indeed all kinds of greed) distorts man, not only the insane desire for wealth, in order to secure, enjoy and also exercise power. It is a great illusion to place his life under this maxim, as the Lord let us know. The one who lives this way and uses all his striving to accumulate temporary goods is a fool. He lives not a true life, and we can only hope and pray that one day he will awaken from this illusion and turn to what makes life to real life.

The Lord, however, speaks of all kinds of greed. One can actually be greedy for spiritual things, even on religious events, and one can collect them as other people accumulate material goods.

In the depths of such a soul there must be something unfulfilled, a desire that is not pacified, a hunger that is not answered, one must have something, because it promises something to you. Unfortunately, greed is not only a mental component, but there is also something violent, something ruthless in greed, which pursues one’s own interest and easily pushes other people aside.

So if such a highly disordered desire for satisfaction is not curbed and overcome in us, then it is easy to understand that greed can spread and become a fundamentally wrong attitude in us!

In the last sentence of the passage, the Lord offers us the remedy: we should gather treasures for heaven, the treasures of love that we give to God and to other people.

If we discover greed in us, we have to make decisions! One of them is the sharing of material goods. It is also important to open the inner insatiability to God and to ask him to learn that His love is sufficient. We should continue to consciously follow the path of modesty and keep working on ourselves! It is also necessary to dissolve the inner hardenings that have arisen through greed  with the help of the Spirit of God, whom we can ask to notice the forms of our greed.

If we heed this, God will gradually free us from this dilemma. However, we need a clear decision to abandon the paths of greed. If we cannot do this yet, then at least we should ask God for the grace to want it!