Tuesday, August 18, 2020

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

During this pandemic, so many people have taken to cleaning out the closets and letting go of the many things that have been accumulated over the years. I have filled many bags and boxes of “things” I thought I needed, from clothes to books to an assortment of gadgets that I can’t come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Some would be classified as “junk,” but one person’s junk is another person’s treasure. Simplifying one’s life is freeing in so many ways.
The gospel teaching of letting go of the many things we purchase over time, selling possessions or giving them away, is one that demands we admit our attachments. What we are attached to can be things we possess or the people in our lives who become our possessions. When we objectify people, even those we love, we turn them into objects to be manipulated. The danger of any parent is to do just this to a child entrusted to them by God.
Jesus is clearly not railing against wealth or possessions but the ways we are attached to them. The current debate of the distribution of wealth is a good one, as long as it doesn’t develop into class warfare, a tendency that seems to be developing these days. Very dangerous and certainly un- Christlike. Demonizing people who are wealthy almost caletas leads to violence and destruction.
When money and wealth lead to abuse of power and position, this must be challenged in every way possible. Yes, the wealthy can and do abuse their position, but many do not. People who are not considered wealthy can and do become attached to their money and possessions, but many do not. Some of the earliest followers of Jesus were people who would have been considered fairly wealthy; they were able to support the growing Christian community with their resources.
Jesus is challenging all of us to keep God at the heart of our lives and let nothing and no one be the focus of our desires.
Fr. Frank