Aparecida 357: Avoiding Material Greed

357. But hedonistic and individualistic consumerism, which jeopardizes human life for the sake of immediate unbridled pleasure, obscures the meaning of life and degrades it.

Yes, this is a serious problem, but from within religion, the notion of a duality, sacred/secular, can also be a concern. We should ensure that we of faith do not succumb to our own tendencies of materialism. Jesus offers us a vision that will widen our perspective, always:

The vitality offered by Christ invites us to expand our horizons and recognize that by embracing the daily cross, we enter into the deeper dimensions of existence. The Lord, who invites us to appreciate things and to make progress, also warns us of the danger of the obsession to accumulate: “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth” (Mt 6:26). “What profit would there be for one to gain the whole world and forfeit his life? Or what can one give in exchange for his life?” (Mt 16:26). Jesus Christ offers us a great deal, in fact much more than we expect. He gives the Samaritan woman more than the water from the well, he offers the hungry multitude more than relief from hunger. He surrenders Himself as life in abundance. The new life in Christ is participation in the triune God’s life of love. It begins at baptism and culminates in the final resurrection.

This new life in Christ is often communicated through the sacramental experience. I would say less from a magical/supernatural impulse and more from the way God reaches to us in the human experiences of life. Water, food, conversation, dedication, promises: these are all human activities but Christ transforms them in their liturgical context to allow a deeper meaning and a gateway into a deeper and more committed relationship.

Remember to reference an English translation of the 2007 document from the Aparecida Conference here.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
This entry was posted in 2007 Aparecida document, bishops, evangelization and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

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