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Greed is Spiritual Cancer

In the parable of the Rich Fool, Jesus teaches us the deadly result of a greedy heart. Faced with full barns and a banner crop, the Rich Fool panics because he has no place to store his growing wealth. “I will do this,” he says, “I will pull down my barns and build greater, and there I will store all my crops and my goods.” (Luke 12.18) Unfortunately for the Rich Fool, that was the night he would die and face judgment for the condition of his heart.

Greed is a cancer that eats away at our heart, one dollar at a time. Each of us has been blessed with material gifts from God. Each of us is faced with considering how we will make use of the wealth that God has given us. Will we panic and attempt to store our wealth for tomorrow thinking we will enjoy comfort for years to come? This was the mistake of the Rich Fool when he said, “Soul, you have many goods laid up for many years; take your ease; eat, drink, and be merry.” (Luke 12.19) Will we be grateful for the blessings that God has given to us and use them for His glory helping and serving others?

Greed is a cancer that turns the heart inward toward darkness rather than upward toward the Light of God. Once our heart has been affected by this cancer, it begins to spread to every other part of our body. A greedy heart fills our minds with hate for our fellow human beings. A greedy heart recognizes only cold, hard cash rather than the warmth of fellowship. A greedy heart sends the cancerous poison of selfishness to our minds, hands, feet, and eventually our very soul dies in darkness.

LIke most illnesses, greed has a cure, but like most illnesses greed can only be cured when we admit we are sick in the first place. The cure for greed is generosity. If we can admit that we are being greedy, then we can be cured. When we are generous, the coldness in our heart is warmed by God’s love and grace.

Consider today’s Gospel passage as a test. Remember the Rich Fool’s mistake was that he thought only about his own needs. On the surface, he wasn’t being greedy. He was only stocking up for the future. Are we worried more about stocking up for the future, or do we look for ways to be generous with our blessings?

It is not generous to give from what we don’t need. If we only give from what we have left over, no matter how much we give, we are no better than the Rich Fool. True generosity is when we give from what we need and give it for others. Thinking about the needs of others rather than stocking up for ourselves is being generous.

If we do not learn to be generous, our soul will remain poor. “So is he who lays up treasures for himself, and is not rich toward God.” (Luke 12.21) Lucky for us...we still have time to be generous. Something to consider this year for Thanksgiving.

Posted by Fr Athanasios Haros at 6:00 AM
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