St. Bede provides us some comfort when we hear Jesus say in our Gospel today “anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple” St. Bede says there is a difference between renouncing all of our possessions, which Jesus DOES ask us to do, and LEAVING all of our possessions, which Jesus only asks some people to do.
The people that Jesus asks to LEAVE their possessions are monks and nuns
So first of all, some of you here today might be hearing Jesus call you to LEAVE all your possessions and follow him. Let me know at some point if you are hearing Jesus invite you to becoming a monk or a nun, and I can help answer any initial questions and connect you with people who will help you figure out where God is calling you to.
But most of us, myself included, are not monks or nuns, so the question remains from our Gospel today: what does it look like for me to RENOUNCE my possessions but not leave them all behind?
And elsewhere in the Gospels Jesus gives us some examples because there are an infinite number of ways that we can loosen our grip on our material possessions…
Matthew 5:40 Jesus says if someone asks for your coat, give them your coat and also your undercoat as well
Are we willing, at a moment’s notice, to give to someone who needs what we have?
Jesus also says if someone wants you to accompany them for a mile, Jesus instructs us to accompany them for 2 miles.
Do we have friends or family who desire us to help them? Nursing homes are awfully lonely places, do we go and visit family and friends there? Do we visit fellow parishioners?
Are there other ways, besides walking, that we can accompany those who need some of our time? Time is a precious commodity in our culture…are we generous with our time?
We don’t necessarily need to leave all of our possessions behind, but I think if we are honest we can loosen on our grip on our possessions, on our money and our time. If we don’t at least loosen our grip, we risk not being a disciple of Jesus.