February 13 – Sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
With retirement 136 days away, I have to start thinking about moving – again! This will be the 8th move in forty one years! I am often frustrated by the amount of possessions I have accumulated over the years. It is not only the things I have collected over the forty years of my priesthood, but also the things I brought with me each move. When going through boxes, I find things that were once important and now have no meaning, or at least I have forgotten the meaning. I must wonder why it was so special and why I felt the need to save it. Once I have determined that I no longer want or need the object, I struggle with what to do next. Were there times when those possessions came between me and God. Now, over the years, I have received many religious nick-knacks as gifts from well-intentioned parishioners. However, with a collection of 40 years I could easily open a religious good store! Of course, these religious items have enhanced my devotional and prayer life. Psychologist Carl Jung said, “What is a normal goal to a young person becomes a neurotic hindrance in old age.”
In Luke’s gospel of the “beatitudes” today, we are reminded of our moral obligation to care for the marginalized. We are taught that sin is when we make choices that separate us from God. Hoarding wealth and ignoring the needs of those less fortunate also separates us from God. Jesus makes it quite clear that it may keep us out of the kingdom. He calls out the rich and preaches that they have received their kingdom on earth. In their world, that have no need for God’s mercy because their needs are already being met by the “good life.”
But the psalmist reminds us that we can prosper if we chose to live a just life. The rich are not locked out but must let their roots spread to others in kindness and generosity. They can make a choice to hoard their wealth as the poor struggle to survive, or they can bear fruit and share with others.
So what shall I do with the over-abundance of possession that can hinder my relationship with God? I must share them, donate them, or give them away freely so that others may use them. The comfort we seek is found in the kingdom of God, not in wealth or possessions! So, watch for our youth ministry garage sale this summer – several of my treasures just might end up there!
Have a blessed week!