Monday of the 29th Week in Ordinary Time
October 21, 2013 8:30am
Jesus says: “Guard against greed…life does not consist of possessions.”
I wonder: If Jesus were speaking today, might he tell us to guard against consumerism?
Our economic system is, I think, the best kind that has yet been devised.
But, like any possible human system, it can have its limitations.
Maybe one of its limitations or deficiencies is consumerism.
Today’s advertising assures us that we will be happy if we have more things.
In fact, it leads us to think that we will be unhappy unless we have more.
We are led to be dissatisfied with what we have and to want something else – the newest, the latest, the biggest, whatever.
One author gives the insight that what can happen in this endless cycle of unhappiness with what we have is that we also become unhappy with who we are.
We are not good or good enough unless…we have this or have that.
Maybe it is this dynamic of dissatisfaction that explains why so many people in the richest countries are still quite unhappy.
Now, there is not a black and white, simple solution to dealing with this.
But I do think we can find three helps in Jesus’ teaching.
First, Jesus wants us to find happiness in who we are, not in what we have.
He assures us that we are valuable and worthwhile in ourselves as sons and daughters of God and as his brothers and sisters.
We need to be prayerfully rooted in the Lord and in these truths.
Second, Jesus wants us to make relationships a priority.
At the beginning of today’s gospel, there was a squabble over money within a family.
The relationships had become second to the money.
Jesus calls us to make relationships first.
And third, Jesus consistently calls us to be sensitive to those who are in need.
Our sense of charity and justice will keep consumerism or greed in check.
So, a strong teaching from Jesus that does relate to today’s life for us here in America!