Gospel LK 12:13-21
Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”
Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit, Come Holy Spirit - Veni Sancte Spiritus!
“Take care to guard against all greed, for though one may be rich, one’s life does not consist in possessions.” What do you hear in our Lord’s words to us today? Do you hear a warning? A caution? I hear a danger, and it appears it is coming at me and perhaps also ‘from me.’ The danger sounds insidious, almost that it could catch me off guard. Unknowledgeable of its coming, I could easily succumb and that is why He is warning me. Notice the words. “Take care,” implies the caution on my part to care, to do what is right and good to protect something precious. “To guard”, implies something precious I have and I must put up a guard around it, and this guard must be vigilant, armed as it were. “Against” implies there is a formidable enemy and I must be astute as to who/what that enemy is, how to fight them best and what they are trying to take or capture and hold hostage. “All” implies any form, at anytime. And finally comes the name of the thief: “greed”, the inordinate love of riches.
But what makes greed so insidious, so dangerous, so evil? It turns the heart of a child of God away from the Truest Good- God Himself and tilts the mind and heart towards lesser ‘gods’ turning those passing things into the end. It diverts us from surrendering ourselves to God. When I was a young Missionary of Charity, Mother Teresa told us, that we could discover what we are ‘greedy’ for in two simple ways: First, to look at what we think about all day; and secondly, to look at what makes us sad when it is either threatened to be taken away or actually taken away. Greed turns the human heart into almost an ‘animal heart’ set on base desires alone, it dehumanizes us. Greed makes us hungry and avaricious to acquire what it is we ‘love.’ We want to garner much of it because we want to provide for ourselves, we want to secure and assure that we will never be in want of what we want. Greed makes us ‘protect ourselves’ from what God might do, or ask of me. I always tell our summer staff and my sisters, that anytime we find ourselves trying to ‘protect ourselves ‘from God, or God’s action’ in my life’ it’s a pretty obvious discernment that this spirit is not of God. And here lies its malice, it places me in opposition to my Father in heaven; to living as a free child of God, dependent upon the Father’s gracious benevolence. It makes me reject His free and loving governance in my life, as His beloved son/daughter.
Two days ago, I had a good laugh at myself. I had just read this Gospel and was pondering it in my heart. I went into our convent kitchen to pour myself a fresh cup of hot coffee and I reached for two Mini-Moos, those little individual creamer cups. I noticed the box of creamers was running low and so I made a mental note to get some more, but I also reached for a couple more of them, to stash them away in my desk drawer for a rainy day. When I sat down with my coffee I laughed. The Gospel became incarnate in my action, a foolish thing, but we can try to provide and protect what we want in all sorts of ways. The choice is ours. What we will guard? Will it be self’s desires? Or will I guard the life of God in my soul, the freedom that comes from living under God’s Providence, God’s domain.
Aspiration: Jesus, silent in my soul, I love you, lead me into your freedom. Amen.