18th Sunday in Ordinary Time: Gospel – Luke 12:13-21
The parable of the rich man in today’s Gospel is a case study in greed, revealing its fundamental self-centeredness. Instead of sharing a portion of his bountiful harvest with others, the rich man decides to build even bigger barns to store it all.
Moreover, he wrongly presumes that he will live for many years to enjoy his abundance of grain, and thereby puts his trust in his own plans, not in God’s providential care.
His mindset illustrates why greed is a serious sin that springs from idolatry (Catechism paragraph 2534): greed leads us to overvalue the passing things of this short life, treating them as ends in themselves, and turning them into gods. As a result, greed causes us to lose our focus on our true end, eternal life with God, and our responsibility to others.
“The Tenth Commandment [which enjoins us not to covet our neighbor’s goods] forbids greed and the desire to amass earthly goods without limit” (2536).
Rather, we are called to use our goods as a means to assist others: “The ownership of any property makes its holder a steward of Providence, with the task of making it fruitful and communicating its benefits to others, first of all his family” (2404). “Love for the poor” – a requirement for entering the Kingdom of God – “is incompatible with immoderate love of riches or their selfish use” (2445).
Question for reflection: In what ways am I tempted to be greedy?