Daily Reflection for Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Peace and Blessings, Friends and Parishioners,
We encourage you to reflect on Tuesday’s readings at this link:
If you prefer to use your own Bible, the readings are:
First Reading: Ezekiel 28:1-10
Responsorial: Deuteronomy 32:26-28, 30, 35-36
Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30
Our reflection on Tuesday’s readings:
“We have given up everything and followed you.” (Matthew 19:27)
It was mid-Lent when pandemic restrictions began in earnest in Indiana. When I reviewed my planner for the past few months I saw so many days with cancelled events—appointments, social gatherings, celebrations like weddings and graduations. It feels like Lent never quite ended. Today’s gospel continues the message that self-denial and letting go are essential components of following Jesus. There’s truth to that but it’s not exactly the Good News that I crave right now.
Reflecting on the gospel got me to wondering if I’ve misunderstood our Catholic ascetic tradition of giving up things. I’m beginning to think that the value is not in the sacrificial giving up itself but in the freedom that it creates in me.
In his First Principle and Foundation at the beginning of the Spiritual Exercises, St. Ignatius talks about “making use of those things that help to bring us closer to God and leaving aside those things that don’t.”
As human beings we’re wired to desire love, security, respect, accomplishment, and so many other things. Ignatius doesn’t mean we should give up all of our desires. It is the excessive attachment to these desires that is the problem.
This is Jesus’ challenge in today’s gospel. He warns that the attachment to riches is what will make it hard for a person to enter the Kingdom of God. He is warning us against desires that become powerful enough to enslave us, to rob us of our freedom to follow Him fully and freely. That is why he affirms Peter’s words, “We have given up everything and followed you.”
We can discover our attachments by looking at our fears. Usually, what we fear losing is what we are attached to the most.
Lord, open my eyes to those attachments that hold me back. Free me from my attachments so I am open to a fuller and deeper relationship with you.
Wishing you the freedom that God desires for you,