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“CAN WE MODERATE OUR GREED?” (Lk 6:36-38): 18 February 2008 (Monday)

“CAN WE MODERATE OUR GREED?”  (Lk 6:36-38):  18 February 2008 (Monday)

Today’s Readings

Today our Lord says something that will surely get him fired from Donald Trump’s boardroom in “The Apprentice.”  Why?  He gives us very bad business advice.

He says, “Good measure pressed down, shaken together, running over, will they pour into the fold of your garment.  For the measure you measure with will be measured back to you.”

The Lord is referring to a vendor who does not cheat on his buyers.  He gives them the correct measure of grain.  But he also goes further: Having measured the right amount of grain, he presses the grain down and shakes the container, in order to make space in the container for more grain.

In other words, the Lord is asking us not only that we don’t cheat others, but also that we cheat ourselves–i.e., that we should go out of our way to give others more, more than they deserve!  That doesn’t make good business sense at all, to say the least, does it?  Totally unheard of!  Such a practice can only be described as foolish extravagance, extreme and unnecessary generosity.

My question is:  Why?  Why be a fool–and such an unfashionable one at that?  Why should we go out of our way to be generous at the risk of going bankrupt while others don’t even bother to be honest?

What the Lord is asking us to do is totally not in fashion.  The question we ask these days has nothing to do with generosity.  The question we ask is: “Can we moderate our greed?”  Why would anyone then even consider such a ridiculous idea?

The only adequate answer to that question is:  Because that’s how God acts with us, and because that’s who he is.  He is as extravagant as we are greedy.  Everything we have and everything we are–all this is grace.   All this is gift from him.  But what do we do in response?

Most of us go about our lives with our hearts closed, ever on guard.  We are afraid to lose what we think we possess. We are afraid to lose our grasp over what we think we own and deserve.  Worse than that, greed has become so fashionable–and so infectious–that it is no longer the case that we have to “moderate our greed.”  Rather, it is our greed that moderates us.

What a disturbing and frightening thought!  No wonder what the Lord says today sounds so alien, so stupid, and so subversive.  Just as generosity rules God’s heart, ours has been swallowed up by greed–our heart both as individuals and as a nation.

God help us.

Here’s a Quick Question for you:  “What do you think about the immoderate greed that’s being reported all over the news these days?  Do you think you would be able to moderate your greed given the same temptations and opportunities?”  Think about it, and share a thought, a feeling, or a question.

(image:  “The Apprentice”)

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