The Abomination Called Greed

Luke 16: 9-15
Phil 4: 10-19 / Ps 112: 1b-2, 5-6, 8a,9

The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light.
(Luke 16: 9)

We can be wanting in wisdom,
Or other things like poor in health;
But what keeps us from God’s kingdom
Is our obsession to have wealth.

“The children of this world are more prudent in dealing with their own kind than are the children of light. I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth so that when it fails, you may be welcomed into eternal dwellings. Whoever is faithful in small matters is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.” The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all this, and they ridiculed him. So he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves in the sight of others; but God knows your hearts; for what is prized by human beings is an abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16: 9-15)

Reflection

The high stakes trading in the U.S. stock market and the overvaluation of real estate properties by unscrupulous executives and traders resulted in the bankruptcies of thousands of banks and big companies, which in turn precipitated the global economic crisis. In the past administration of our own country, many of its officials were allegedly involved in “shady deals” where hundreds of millions of Pesos were lost. One such case overtook an Undersecretary of Agriculture, who was a principal in the illegal disbursements of more than ₱700,000,000.00 in public funds. This government executive was once admired by many for his astute wheeling and dealing in the corridors of power, and was even appointed Treasurer of a prestigious international service organization that advocates truth, fairness and justice. Divine Justice has finally shown how he was “snared by his own misdeeds, and caught by his own folly” (Prov.5:23).

There is only one reason why man turns from God to mammon. It is greed, that excessive desire for perpetual security. And how blind the greedy are, as there is nothing perpetual in this world. It is not how much man acquires but how much he has given that makes him immortal. Generosity perpetuates our name; greed diminishes it. And if, because of greed we cannot be faithful with that tainted thing called ‘wealth’, how can we be entrusted with the true riches of heaven? To be content in God’s assurances is the antidote against greed.

In the first reading, St. Paul reveals his “secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through Him who gives me strength” (Phil.4:12-13) And He who gives us strength tells us, “No man can serve two masters” (Mt.6:24). Who is the master in charge of my life? Is it the love of material possessions? The pride and power of position and prestige? Is it a passion for women? Or addiction to food, alcohol or drugs? There is only one Master who can free us from our slavery to sin and material obsessions. That Master is our Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Lord and giver of light, and we are the children of light.

Lord, free us from greed and the enslavement to all material things with your grace of generosity. Help us in times of economic difficulties to be more honest in our work, to be models of true service and integrity. For it is only by such good examples that we can help propagate Your kingdom here on earth. Amen.

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