Wednesday, September 5, 2018
And Christ said to crowd, “Take care! Be on your guard against all kinds of greed; for one’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions.” Then Christ told them a parable: “The land of a rich man produced abundantly. And he thought to himself, ‘What should I do, for I have no place to store my crops?’ Then he said, ‘I will do this: I will pull down my barns and build larger ones, and there I will store all my grain and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, you have ample goods laid up for many years; relax, eat, drink, be merry.’ But God said to him, ‘You fool! This very night your life is being demanded of you. And the things you have prepared, whose will they be?’ So it is with those who store up treasures for themselves but are not rich toward God.” – Luke 12:15-21
“Be on your guard against all kinds of greed”… for the sin of greed is disguised in all forms of excuses, rationalizations, and justifications. Most greedy people never see themselves as greedy for greed does blind the greedy. They see themselves as successful in life and worthy of the wealth. They see themselves as prosperous and financially secure. Some see themselves as having proven they are numbered among the winners and some feel this proves they are blessed and approved by God. No, greed is seldom recognized and thus seldom confessed.
Am I greedy? I think sometimes I am. I want more and more of what is not truly needed. I find my security in the barns of my retirement fund rather than in the daily providence of God. I sometimes check how my “net-worth” is increasing or decreasing. I sometimes prove my success in financial measures. But on the other hand, I am trying to live with a generosity that is enabled by a life of simplicity. I am trying to see my worth not in financial terms but in spiritual terms. I work not for the sake of becoming wealthy but rather for the sake of doing good work.
From day one, I instinctively sensed that the “prosperity-gospel” as conjured by certain preachers was no more than self-sanctified justification of greed. I always knew that it was a distortion of the Gospel by way of selected scriptural passages that were spun to allure the financially-wanting or the financially-obsessed. I always knew in my God-tended conscience that greed in a gospel-fleece is still greed.
Christ speaks to instead of being rich in worldly wealth that instead “we be rich toward God”. But what does it mean to be rich toward God? I take it to mean to be prosperous in such qualities of the spirit such as being merciful and gracious, loving and charitable, a peace-making and a reconciler, a seeker of wisdom and discernment, a soul who shares with the community for the sake of the community’s well-being, being one who gives their own self in service to others.
I believe that there is virtue in both being hard-working and humble. Yet to keep building more and more barns to hold more and more wealth is actually the sin of greed.
Always in Christ’s Service,
Fr. Charitas de la Cruz