The Detachment of Attachment … Sunday, September 8

Jesus on the wall of the senior Home

“Follow me.”

The Gospel of the Lord … Luke 14:25-33

Great crowds were traveling with Jesus, and he turned and addressed them, “If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple. Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple. Which of you wishing to construct a tower does not first sit down and calculate the cost to see if there is enough for its completion? Otherwise, after laying the foundation and finding himself unable to finish the work the onlookers should laugh at him and say, ‘This one began to build but did not have the resources to finish.’ Or what king marching into battle would not first sit down and decide whether with ten thousand troops he can successfully oppose another king advancing upon him with twenty thousand troops? But if not, while he is still far away, he will send a delegation to ask for peace terms. In the same way, anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”
     You can’t really be attached to Jesus and be attached to any one or any thing else, can you? To be attached to Him requires the ultimate in detachment from all else. No person, regardless how much we love them or are loved by them, no home or country, and it doesn’t matter how dear they are to us, no social position, and impressive or powerful does not count, no possession, despite its value, can mean more to us than Him if we’re really going to follow Jesus. And that’s because really following Jesus requires the realization that the One who created all things, including those just mentioned along with all others, is more important, more fine, and more lovable, more worthy of ALL our love, than any created thing ever could be. All of that? All of that means giving up every thing else for the One Who is worth more and more worthy than all else combined. And every word in this paragraph falls infinite light years short of doing justice to the reasoning behind following Jesus. That’s because there’s more than reason to it, and the other aspect, which is heart and love, is in this instance impossible to put into words. Poets try and fail. Matters of the heart are understood only within the heart and words only confuse the issue.
     I think most folks realize that to honestly follow Jesus, as a true Christian, they have to put Him first. What’s sad is how we often maneuver around this truth. Maneuvering requires rationalizations, justifications, and excuses. These are salves that we often use to cover up the pain of an aching conscience. If a conscience aches? Unless we’re victims of scrupulosity any pain of conscience doesn’t require salve such as this. It begs for soul-searching and repentance.
     Years ago I was talking with a man when the subject of “church” came up. Now, he didn’t attend any form of religious services but he said that if he ever did he would go to fill-in-the-blank and no place else because that’s where his grandmother had always gone. He was content with his religious convictions. But he was putting his grandmother first, and Jesus either second or third depending on how attached he was to fill-in-the-blank. He didn’t see this. It’s hard to see the truth, the Truth that is Christ, when grandma and fill-in-the-blank are standing between us and Him. And it isn’t because grandma and fill-in-the-blank stepped between the person and Jesus. It’s because the person made a choice as to where they would stand, and they stood so as to put something between them and God.
     We know where Jesus stands. He spent 33 years, Calvary, and nearly 2,000 years of Eucharistic presence explaining His stand to us. He asks us to follow Him. How can we follow if something between us and Him obscures our view of the Way? And if something obscures our view we might like to ask ourselves why it is that we don’t change our position. Because where your treasure is, that’s where your heart will be.