Rich Toward God
“Take care! Be on guard against all kinds of greed,” Jesus warns in this Sunday’s Gospel. Greed can manifest itself in a thousand different ways. It might be collecting books, shoes, or any other tangible thing. It might be amassing money, land, or other wealth. Greed can also be about time, attention, approval, love, knowledge, power, control, being right, being in charge, or countless other things. Ultimately, greed is not about any of these goods, but is a condition of the heart. It is really just a way of dealing with our own feelings of deficit and emptiness. It’s not so much about having enough but about being enough. We attempt to use material goods or other people to fill the hole inside us. The antidote to greed is not necessarily in cleaning out the closet or sharing our material resources, though in some cases that may be a necessary starting point. Greed signals to us that we are living in poverty toward God. The antidote to greed is to be rich toward God.
Pope Francis reminds us that although material goods are necessary, they are only a means of living honestly and sharing with those most in need. Today Jesus invites us to reflect on the truth that riches can chain the heart and distract it from the eternal treasure that awaits us in Heaven. Saint Paul also reminds us of this in the second reading this Sunday: “Seek the things that are above … turn your thoughts to the things above, not of things on Earth” (Colossians 3: 1-2). We are urged to look for things that have eternal value: justice, solidarity, hospitality, fraternity, and peace, all of which constitute the genuine dignity of the human person. To overcome greed, we must live our lives according to the Gospel: to love God with our whole being and to love our neighbor as Jesus loved him, that is in service and self-giving.
In order to be rich toward God, we must trust Him and strive to live as disciples of the Lord, who constantly manifest love and compassion, solidarity and selfless service to those in need. Our attitude and behavior must be modeled on that of Christ. Saint Ignatius of Loyola expresses it beautifully in his prayer: “Give me only your love and your grace, that is enough for me.” Daily prayer and frequent reception of the sacraments, especially the Most Holy Eucharist in which we receive the Body and Blood of Christ Jesus Himself, will conquer our greed and transform us to be Rich Toward God!
May God love and bless you!
Sr. Kathleen Fitzpatrick, IHM