+ Pax et Bonum!
Sixteen years ago, in the summer of 1998, I bought a pair of white leather Reebok tennis shoes. I fully realize that these shoes are older than many of you listening to me here today. I bought them at a K-Mart store in Logansport for $29.99. Now usually I don’t remember details like this about my shoes, or pretty much anything else. But you see, this pair of shoes became very important to me. I don’t know if I have ever had a pair of shoes that are more comfortable than that pair of Reebok’s. Because they were so comfortable, I became very attached to them. I have worn them everywhere. I have cut grass in them. I’ve washed my car in them. I’ve shoveled snow in them. Many others pairs of shoes have come along since I bought that pair of Reebok’s, cross-trainers, tennis shoes, running shoes, just in case I am ever chased by a bear! And all those other shoes have come and gone. But I just can’t get rid of that one pair of Reebok’s. They look terrible. The leather is all worn. The soles are nearly flat. They are stained with grass, and motor oil, and I think there’s even some tomato sauce on them right now. They don’t smell so hot either. But I just can’t seem to get rid of them, because they are so comfortable. I don’t wear them out in public much, because people would think that I stole them from a street person. They look hideous! But I love that pair of shoes. I can’t imagine not having them to put on at the end of the day, or early in the morning, or on my day off. I am attached!
We can all get attached to things. Maybe it’s our phone, or our favorite coffee mug, or that favorite sweatshirt. Maybe it is a person. Many times, we get so attached to loved ones, family, friends, significant others, that we can’t imagine our lives without them. Maybe it is our job that we get attached to, or our favorite hobby, or favorite sport. Whatever it is that we are attached to, as we come here this day, what we all have to admit is that Jesus’ words in today’s Gospel are challenging! “In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.” Those are tough words for us to hear as we come to Mass today.
You see, Jesus is talking to us today about the price, the cost, of discipleship. He is reminding us, in very powerful words, that to follow Him, we too have to pick-up our cross and get on our road to Calvary. Being a disciple is not easy. It is very counter-cultural. It demands that we be different from everybody else. And one important area where we have to be different, is in our attachments. As Jesus’ followers, we are to be attached to Him, to His Father, and to the Holy Spirit, and NOT anything or anybody else. Jesus wants all of us. And this is also very important, because as Jesus reminds us time and time again, we’re going to leave this world one day. We’re going home to our “real” home in Heaven. And when we do, we can’t look back saying I want to take my phone with me, or I want to take my favorite shoes with me, or even my favorite person with me. God wants us attached to Him, and nothing or nobody else.
My brothers and sisters, we live in a world that is not attached to God. In fact, in many ways, the world is attached to everything BUT God. And we are exposed every day to more pagan influences than most of us ever realize. And it is exactly then that we have to remember that we belong to God! Wisdom dictates that we remember that, always!
It is not wrong to have possessions. Possessions in themselves are not bad or evil. But when we get attached to our possessions, or our loved ones, or our life in this world, that’s when we get ourselves into trouble. I do love that old pair of shoes. But I would give them up in a heartbeat for a chance to live with our Creator in Heaven, for all eternity! Let’s make sure that we have the right priorities, and that we are attached to things that last forever!
Service to God and to our neighbor is one of those things that lasts forever…Don’t forget the 2013 SMG Ministry taking place right after Mass today.
+ May God bless us today, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit… AMEN !!!
St. Maria Goretti… Pray for us !!!