A number of years ago, there was a satirical comedy about a greedy company from the east that saw an opportunity in the old west to make a lot of money by taking over a small town through which a railroad line would be run. The company had a logo modeled after Gulf Oil, only it’s name was Engulf and Devour. In other words, it was a company designed to eat up something whole and quickly so as to make as much money as possible. Obviously, no company today would be so greedy and vulgar as was portrayed in Blazing Saddles. But greed is a problem not only with businesses and individuals.
The readings today (Eccl 1:2, 2:21-23; Col 3:1-5, 9-11; Lk 12:13-21) warn us against this sin which is one of the 7 Capital Sins. And we all need to be on our guard, since we live in a greedy culture which places material goods and access to them as a supreme value. It’s a sin that clings very closely to each of us unless we decide to do something about it.
Jesus warns us today, “Take care to guard against all greed…” and who are so foolish “... store up treasures for themselves but are not rich in what matters to God.” What matters to God is our stewardship over his gifts and sharing with the poor, the needy, and the church. “Don’t be mean and selfish with your money.” (Deut 15:7) “Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2Cor 9:7) “God blesses everyone who is kind to the poor.” (Prov 14:21) And finally, there is the poor widow who gives her last two coins in support of the temple.
The bible tells us that the best way to overcome greed is generosity, but not just in terms of treasure, but also with our time and talent as well. Jesus generously gave his life for us. In gratitude, shouldn’t we be generous with God’s gifts to us of time, talent, and treasure?