Inordinate Attachments

Tinimbang Ka, Ngunit Kulang
August 17, 2020
WHO IS LIKE GOD?
August 18, 2020
PITIK-BULAG: Inordinate Attachments
 
Saint Ignatius of Loyola at the beginning of his Spiritual Exercises immediately introduced to the retreatant the main objective of the retreat, that is, to identify the INORDINATE ATTACHMENTS THAT MAY HINDER US TO FOLLOW THE WILL OF GOD. No one can follow Jesus wholeheartedly if he’s not disposed to let go of everything for the sake of His Kingdom.
 
Our gospel today brings us to the remarks of Jesus when the rich young man left grieving after being invited to sell everything, give the money to the poor, and follow HIm. It was too much for him who possess many things (Matthew 19:22). He was not yet ready to leave everything to follow Jesus. He left Jesus in grief. The demand was too much for him. His possession stopped him from further following Jesus.
 
The rich young man was us. He was actually mirroring our own unreadiness to leave everything and follow Jesus. We saw ourselves in the rich man. Yet, we don’t feel Jesus’ condemnation here. The gospel is simply an invitation to be aware of our own inordinate attachments to earthly things
and slowly let go of them in order to follow Jesus. Our Lord does not like rivals or anything that will distract us from following His footsteps. It’s all or nothing!
 
SPIRITUAL MATURITY. In our spiritual growth, following Jesus by obeying his commandments is not enough. The rich man wanted to possess everything including heaven by obeying all the precepts. He passed the first level of loving God by obeying the ten commandments. Yet, it was not everything. There is no perfection in simply obeying the precepts of God. Spiritual maturity is measured in our DISPOSITION TO SET ASIDE EVERYTHING TO FOLLOW JESUS and SERVE THE POOR. No earthly possessions should possess us to love God.
 
PURIFICATION OF OUR IMPURE MOTIVATION. The disciples were greatly astounded to hear from the Lord: “‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God (Matthew 19:23-24).”
 
When they followed Jesus, they were hoping of becoming rich, famous, and powerful. Thus they wanted to know who would sit at his right and left side (Mark 10:35-45). Their impure motivation in following Jesus came out of the mouth of Peter, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have (Matthew 19:19)?” They were hoping for some rewards from following Jesus. Like the crowd, they were also expecting a material reward for leaving everything to follow Jesus. It was a test of their motivation when Jesus announced that the reward was not material but spiritual in nature: SERVANT LEADERSHIP AND ETERNAL LIFE.
 
“And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.” (Matthew 19:29-30).
 
Thus perfection in holiness comes not in obeying God’s precepts. Following Jesus is beyond that, it means following Him wherever he goes. And to be able to do it, one must not cling to any of his possessions. There is a call to self-renunciation here as the first step to dispose of oneself to follow Jesus.
 
What about you? Are you willing to leave everything to follow Jesus? What are your possessions? Are you willing to let go of them to follow God’s will? What stops you from doing it? Don’t be discouraged. Nothing is impossible with God (Matthew 19:26). Even camels can enter the eye of the needle. It’s a matter of entrusting ourselves to our Lord who possesses everything on earth and on heaven. What the Lord requires from us is to humbly identify the inordinate attachments that block us from doing his will.
 
Material goods and talents are graces from God. They are not evil to be hated and condemned. Human as we are, we are naturally attracted to them. They are good possessions. But if these earthly possessions start to possess us, then they become inordinate possessions.
 
Pray for the grace of generosity to detach yourself from our inordinate attachments. Focus your eyes on the Giver and not on the gifts. Be possessed by God, and not by material wealth. In doing so, we shall find the real treasure – being one with Christ and meriting eternal life.
 
– Pitik-Bulag
 
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August 18, 2020 – Tuesday
Gospel Reading: Matthew 19: 23-30

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