Greed vs. Goodness
User's Guide to Sunday, Aug. 4.
Sunday, Aug. 4, is the 18th Sunday in Ordinary Time (Year C; Cycle I).
Aug. 6 is the feast of the Transfiguration of the Lord. Here is a meditation appropriate for the day from Pope Francis’ new encyclical, Lumen Fidei (The Light of Faith): "There is no human experience, no journey of man to God, which cannot be taken up, illumined and purified by this light. The more Christians immerse themselves in the circle of Christ’s light, the more capable they become of understanding and accompanying the path of every man and woman towards God."
Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23; Psalms 95:1-2, 6-9; Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11; Luke 12:13-21
Today’s readings warn about greed, but they are not directed toward rich people; they are directed toward each of us.
In the Gospel reading, someone in the crowd calls out to Jesus with what may seem like a reasonable request: He wants his share of his inheritance. Jesus takes the opportunity to call each of us to watch out for greed. "Take care to guard against all greed," he says. "One’s life does not consist of possessions."
He then tells the famous story of the rich man who stores up his riches and prepares to "eat, drink and be merry." He dies that very night. The warning is an apt one for our time: Our society is very much devoted to eating, drinking and being merry.
But that is the wrong focus. As Blessed Pope John Paul II wrote in Centesimus Annus: "It is … necessary to create lifestyles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investments."
How do we develop such a lifestyle? By being generous to others. The more we direct our attention away from ourselves, the more happy we become.
Tom and April Hoopes write from Atchison, Kansas,
where Tom is writer in
residence at Benedictine College.
- July 28-Aug. 10, 2013