In his encyclical Evangelii Gaudium, Pope Francis says, “the joy of the gospel fills the hearts and lives of all who encounter Jesus. Those who accept his offer of salvation are set free from sin, sorrow, inner emptiness, and loneliness.”
This pandemic, I learned to practice detachment from possessions that are not essential in life. In the seminary, we have a practice called “pass-the-hat,” where we give any amount to extend help to other members of the community who are in need especially when death and grief visits a family. It is a good practice, yet the challenge is how much should we give. I remember that there was a time I was in dilemma if I should provide the amount that I wanted to give, however I was also considering to keep the money for possible emergency needs in the formation. Having imbibed the strong sense of community, I realized that being part of the community, a bigger family, I am also part of his emergency needs. It is always a joy when one could extend help, however simple or little, to a brother or sister in the community.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus admonished the man to sell what he has and to give them to the poor, and he will have treasure in heaven. But “he went away sad, for he had many possessions.” In this modern time, it is a challenge to live and give away all that we have and follow the poor and humble Christ in a life of poverty and penance. Detachment does not mean to refrain from love. It asks us to love appropriately and responsibly. As a priest-in-process and a sharer in the Church’s mission, the Gospel narrative calls me to strip myself of anything that serves as an obstacle to receiving and giving God’s love. St. Francis of Assisi has a succinct reminder, “for it is in giving that we receive.”
By: Sem. Glicerio T. Tano
As Jesus was setting out on a journey, a man ran up,
knelt down before him, and asked him,
“Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”
Jesus answered him, “Why do you call me good?
No one is good but God alone.
You know the commandments: You shall not kill;
you shall not commit adultery;
you shall not steal;
you shall not bear false witness;
you shall not defraud;
honor your father and your mother.”
He replied and said to him,
“Teacher, all of these I have observed from my youth.”
Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said to him,
“You are lacking in one thing.
Go, sell what you have, and give to the poor
and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.”
At that statement his face fell,
and he went away sad, for he had many possessions.
Jesus looked around and said to his disciples,
“How hard it is for those who have wealth
to enter the kingdom of God!”
The disciples were amazed at his words.
So Jesus again said to them in reply,
“Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God!
It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
They were exceedingly astonished and said among themselves,
“Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For human beings it is impossible, but not for God.
All things are possible for God.”
Peter began to say to him,
“We have given up everything and followed you.”
Jesus said, “Amen, I say to you,
there is no one who has given up house or brothers or sisters
or mother or father or children or lands
for my sake and for the sake of the gospel
who will not receive a hundred times more now in this present age:
houses and brothers and sisters
and mothers and children and lands,
with persecutions, and eternal life in the age to come.”