In today’s first reading, St. Paul says to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” In the Gospel reading from Luke 14, we hear Jesus tell us that we must “hate” our father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters… What an awful thought! But don’t despair. This word “hate” does not carry the same meaning as we may ascribe to it, namely to have an absence of love for. No, the ancient meaning of this word meant “to love less.” Jesus means that we must love Him above everyone and everything else.
Speaking of things, Jesus also addresses our relationship with things today. “Everyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” So what does this really mean. Are we all supposed to get rid of all of our stuff and live naked in a cave? After all, if we renounce EVERYTHING, that would seem like the logical conclusion. But that’s not necessarily the case. We must be WILLING to renounce everything.
I’m really not sure that there is a difference between the two. You see, renouncing is a function of the will. If we renounce something and then it is taken away, it will be no big deal. But if we SAY we renounce everything but remain attached, then it is of no avail. Today, I want to challenge you. Think of something, a physical object, that you are attached to. Then give it away. Hold it one last time, savor the memories, then thank God for allowing you to have it in the first place. Then let it go. Let me know what that does for you.
Father, we thank you for giving us everything. Help us today to renounce all of our stuff, to detach, to let it go. Give us the grace to cling only to You. Amen.