Bloodsucking Leech

“I have coveted no one’s silver or gold or apparel”
(Acts 20:33).

They are popularly known as leeches or bloodsucking parasites. They are elastic and flexible. Some species are predators and feed on worms and larvae, among other things, while other species feed on blood. How do they do it? The attach themselves to the body and with their jaws cut the skin on their prey until they bleed. Then, with their posterior suction cup they suck the blood while releasing an anesthetic that prevents pain, so the victim does not feel anything; a vasodilator, so that the veins near the cut release more blood; and an anticoagulant. The amount of blood they suck is not dangerous even for a child, and they do not transmit diseases.

Coventousness acts like a bloodsucking leech. Solomon says that “the leech has two daughters, ‘Give! Give!’ they cry” (Prov. 30:15). In other words, greed can only produce more greed. Those who covet the possessions of others are never satisfied. Like the leech that sucks blood from anyone to whom it attaches itself, so does greed: it will always want more and more from others.

The dictionary defines covetousness as “having or showing a strong desire for especially material possessoins.” In this sense, in the original language of the New Testament, it means “the desire to have more,” that is, an ungovernable desire to consume and control what others have, to possess more than we already have.

Paul was accused of covetousness, implying that his passion for evangelization hid his interest in the material goods of converts. He had the right to ask for donations for his labor, but he did not. With his remarkable influence on people, he could have obtained material benefits and become rich. But he knew how to live modestly and have adundance; he knew how to be content, whatever situation (Phil.4:11-12). He never profited from the Corinthians or accepted gifts from the Philippians; he supported himself with the work of his hands, without allowing others to support him.

Paul himself makes it clear that “the love for money is a root of all kinds of evil” (1 Tim. 6:10), so covetousness is condemned by the Decalougue (the Ten Commandments) itself. “Greed is a bottemless pit which exhaust exhausts the person in an endless effort to satisfy the need without ever reaching satisfaction,” declares Erich Fromm. Paul sought to uproot greed from hearts by directing people to look at the sacrifice Christ made for us all.

We must prevent the great evil of greed. And if we are already affected by it, let’s seek the cure, because “in his experience and example it will be made manifest that the grace of Christ has power to overcome covetousness and avarice, and the rich man who renders unto God His entrusted goods, will be accounted a faithful steward, and can present to others the fact that every dollar of accumulated property is stamped with the image and superscription of God” (Counsels on Stewardship, p.28).

God bless you, let us become the faithful steward God is expecting us to be. Let’s get rid of the leeches!