The tenth Commandment commands us not to covet thy neighbor’s goods. Why is this a commandment? God knows that the heart of man, if not guarded, will let greed sink in. Nowadays, we experience greed every day. While it is so easy to blame the rich, we must be reminded that all are guilty of greed. How many of us have land that cannot be used because some homeless people decided to stay there? Further, how many of these people are even at least grateful because they are staying in the land that is not their own? Worst of all, after a few years, they will probably have the gall to claim the land as their own.
In the Gospel, Jesus got angry at the vendors at the temple because they took advantage of people. Many Jews came from other countries to exchange their money, but the rate was so disadvantageous. People wanted to buy animals for the offering, but the cost was exorbitant. Jesus was angered at their greed. Jesus was angered because they took advantage of other people.
Three things we can do to avoid being greedy. Three things we can do so as we do not take advantage of other people:
- Fill the vacuum in our hearts with spirituality and not materiality. God said, in this life, you cannot serve two masters – you will love one and despise the other. Hence, the challenge is to fill our hearts with the Love of God. Look at the life of St. Augustine, who searched for meaning and happiness in everything that the world can offer. In the end, he said that his soul is restless unless it rests with God.
- Feel Secured. When we think that we have money, we think that we are secured. When we are secured, we think we will live happily ever after. The irony of life is that the more money we have, the more afraid we are of losing it. Hence we become less free. Even worse, when we lose it, we think that it is the end of the world.
- Think of our Purpose. Certainly, we are not in the world to just accumulate material things which we will eventually just leave behind. There must be a higher and most noble reason why we are here. The day we find our purpose in life is supposed to be one of the two happiest days in a person’s life.
In every Mass, three reflections:
- We thank God for all we have regardless of whether in abundance or scarcity. When one is grateful, one is contented.
- Material things are meant to make us better people as we are only stewards. If material things lead us to sin, then we know something is not right.
- We reap what we sow in this world. If we are a blessing, the blessing will come back. However, if we take advantage of people, especially the poor, it is God who we will be answering to.