Most of us would never think of ourselves as greedy. We thing of the people on Wall Street as greedy, or perhaps the people on Hoarders, but not us.
The problem is that we have narrowed the definition to keep ourselves safe, and we do it unconsciously. In Dante's purgatory, the greedy are bound face down on rock, facing the earth.
Today's reading divide the world simply: the things of earth, the things of heaven. All of the things of earth are ephemeral, they pass away. They are as the first reading calls them "vanity" or the Germans have a better word "windhauch"(a breath of air).
The things of heaven are eternal.
Greed here is any attachment of my heart to any earthly thing. Whenever I allow my heart to turn from the eternal to the temporal.
Daily we must turn our minds to the temporal. We work, we eat, we sleep, we are stewards of God's creation. But our hearts must be different.
This is why Jesus gives us simply two commandments: love God, and love your neighbor. These are the only two eternal realities. (And throw in angels)
We forget that humans are the only created thing made in the image and likeness of God and intended to for eternal life.
When we use the verb "love" in relation to an object, that is greed. As pastor of St. Patrick's I feel a responsibility to care for the building as an historic artifact, but should I have an emotional attachment to it?
When you get angry and scold your spouse or grandchild for accidentally damaging some thing. Is that not greed? Which of the two is eternal, the object or the person?
Before we accuse others of being greedy, perhaps we must begin with ourselves. When you say your family is the most important thing in your lives, look at your calendar for the last week. How did you spend your time? On God and people or on things?
How much of our upset is caused because of an emotional attachment to some passing thing. We should and must work. We need things in order to live but our hearts must never be attached to them. When we achieve that state then we will be greed free and we will know the peace of God.