The Desire for More

First Reading: Ecclesiastes 1:2; 2:21-23

Vanity of vanities, says Qoheleth,
vanity of vanities! All things are vanity!

Here is one who has labored with wisdom and knowledge and skill,
and yet to another who has not labored over it,
he must leave property.
This also is vanity and a great misfortune.
For what profit comes to man from all the toil and anxiety of heart
with which he has labored under the sun?
All his days sorrow and grief are his occupation;
even at night his mind is not at rest.
This also is vanity.

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 90:3-4, 5-6, 12-13, 14, 17

R. (1) If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You turn man back to dust,
saying, “Return, O children of men.”
For a thousand years in your sight
are as yesterday, now that it is past,
or as a watch of the night.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
You make an end of them in their sleep;
the next morning they are like the changing grass,
Which at dawn springs up anew,
but by evening wilts and fades.
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Teach us to number our days aright,
that we may gain wisdom of heart.
Return, O LORD! How long?
Have pity on your servants!
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.
Fill us at daybreak with your kindness,
that we may shout for joy and gladness all our days.
And may the gracious care of the LORD our God be ours;
prosper the work of our hands for us!
Prosper the work of our hands!
R. If today you hear his voice, harden not your hearts.

Second Reading: Colossians 3:1-5, 9-11

Brothers and sisters:
If you were raised with Christ, seek what is above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
Think of what is above, not of what is on earth.
For you have died,
and your life is hidden with Christ in God.
When Christ your life appears,
then you too will appear with him in glory.

Put to death, then, the parts of you that are earthly:
immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire,
and the greed that is idolatry.
Stop lying to one another,
since you have taken off the old self with its practices
and have put on the new self,
which is being renewed, for knowledge,
in the image of its creator.
Here there is not Greek and Jew,
circumcision and uncircumcision,
barbarian, Scythian, slave, free;
but Christ is all and in all.

Gospel: Luke 12:13-21

Someone in the crowd said to Jesus,
“Teacher, tell my brother to share the inheritance with me.”
He replied to him,
“Friend, who appointed me as your judge and arbitrator?”
Then he said to the crowd,
“Take care to guard against all greed,
for though one may be rich,
one’s life does not consist of possessions.”

Then he told them a parable.
“There was a rich man whose land produced a bountiful harvest.
He asked himself, ‘What shall I do,
for I do not have space to store my harvest?’
And he said, ‘This is what I shall do:
I shall tear down my barns and build larger ones.
There I shall store all my grain and other goods
and I shall say to myself, “Now as for you,
you have so many good things stored up for many years,
rest, eat, drink, be merry!”’
But God said to him,
‘You fool, this night your life will be demanded of you;
and the things you have prepared, to whom will they belong?’
Thus will it be for all who store up treasure for themselves
but are not rich in what matters to God.”



What is it that I am always wanting more of?

The Greek word used for “greed” is pleonexia, which translates literally to ‘a desire to have more.’

I chuckled at writing a reflection about greed for so many thousands of women who give so much of themselves and what they have day in and day out. I watch it in action every day. I also chuckle because hoarding great wealth is not something I see many Catholic women doing—many I see are trying to put their pennies together to scrape by—in college, in ministry, and within their families.

But when I look through a different lens, and look at this Greek translation of greed—a desire to have more—it is something many of us know well in our hearts and lives.

Perhaps it is a desire to have more money—perhaps to have more followers, more readers for our blogs, more attention, more people recognizing our achievements, more friends, more possessions, more clothes . . . there are many things in our lives to want more of, and the world has conditioned many of us toward a continual striving and desire for more.

Christ tells us through this parable to be vigilant against these desires—to be on guard against the quiet whisper of the enemy that attempts to push us toward wanting what could be and away from gratefulness for what is. This kind of greed kills us spiritually—for when we are wanting more of things there is little room left for wanting more of Jesus.

I am always amazed how the desire for more just wears me out but the desire for more of Jesus propels me toward the holiness I am seeking. That’s the beauty of it—we can take ownership over what we desire more of. In your life, is it things or is it Jesus?

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Take inventory today of what you have been finding yourself in want of lately—is it more things, or is it more of God?

photo credit

Emily Wilson planned her whole life to become a sports reporter but turned out to be a Catholic musician and speaker at the hand of God. She lives out of her suitcase and travels across the world speaking to people of all ages. The heart of her ministry is offering encouragement to teen girls in search of their true identity, and she loves ever second of it. You can find out more about her here.

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