In the Gospel this weekend, Jesus warns us away from greed using the parable of the man who built bigger barns. The greedy man speaks of 'MY barns', 'MY grain' and 'MY goods'. In other words he sees himself as the exclusive owner of all that he has. But then he dies.....
In the following extract from 'Fratelli Tutti' Pope Francis quotes some of the early saints of the Church who challenge this notion of the absolute right to private possessions at the expense of the poor.
'In the first Christian centuries, a number of thinkers developed a universal vision in their reflections on the common destination of created goods. This led them to realize that if one person lacks what is necessary to live with dignity, it is because another person is detaining it. Saint John Chrysostom summarizes it in this way: “Not to share our wealth with the poor is to rob them and take away their livelihood. The riches we possess are not our own, but theirs as well”. In the words of Saint Gregory the Great, “When we provide the needy with their basic needs, we are giving them what belongs to them, not to us”.
Pope Francis, Fratelli Tutti, 119.