Readings: Luke 14: 25-33
The focus of this week’s Gospel is at the heart of the clarity of Clare and Francis of Assisi: have no possessions. The logic of the Gospel is that, ultimately, we do not own our possessions, our possessions can own us. The possessions can be a burden on our hearts and souls and can prevent us from seeing life as it truly is. Not having possessions can give a person a radical freedom. Such freedom allows a person to work for others, knowing that our salvation comes in community; that we are each members of the body of Christ. In this time of greater ecological awareness, we also need to acknowledge that more possessions means more resources and a greater burden on this planet that we were gifted by God.
‘Have no possessions’ is at odds with the ‘wisdom of the world’ – then and now. Such an injunction has been ignored by many in the church over the centuries, reminding of the phrase: ‘honoured more in the breach than in the observance’.
While Clare, Francis and many others over the centuries have opted for the literal (and radical) interpretation of this passage, what might a more metaphorical observance look like? What we have can be shared; what we have can be used in our work/ministry; what we have can free us for relationships; what we have can help us to see those in need; we have can allow us to act for justice. We can each make choices to build community. The way of Francis and Clare ensures the Gospel is lived. For the rest of us mere mortals, may we do enough to be on the journey.