The Perspective of Justice

Our Other Desires

Today’s liturgy contains a very strong message to those who have much and to those who want more: “Avoid greed in all its forms.” We are to avoid the mistake of the rich fool, who saved up a fortune, only to die and have it left to others.

“That is the way it works with the man who grows rich for himself instead of growing rich in the sight of God.” Christians are challenged to be “intent on things above rather than on things of earth”; anything else “is vanity and a great misfortune.”

Our society, based on the civil religion of capitalism, perceives greed as good and desirable, for it fuels the drive to improve ourselves. “Greed is not a bad word,” said a prominent American economist and erstwhile Secretary of Treasury.

But in the Christian scheme of things, greed is a bad word, and money does not save: God is “the only one who helps (us) and sets (us) free.”

The Eucharist is a sign of the Christian commitment to satisfying basic human needs such as food; all our other desires should prompt us to fall on our knees with the prayer: “Forgive our sins and restore us to life.”

Neither individuals nor nations should regard the possession of more and more goods as the ultimate objective. . . . The exclusive pursuit of material possessions prevents man’s growth as a human being and stands in opposition to his true grandeur. Avarice, in individuals and in nations, is the most obvious form of stultified moral development.

Pope Paul VI, Populorum Progressio, 1967:19

Gerald Darring

Now published in book form, To Love and Serve: Lectionary Based Meditations, by Gerald Darring This entire three year cycle is available at Amazon.com.

 

**From Saint Louis University

 

Kristin Clauson