Perhaps the strongest human impulse in all creation is a mother’s love for her children, yet I am seeing more and more messy divorces where mothers choose another path and leave their children with their father and want nothing to do with their offspring. We generally think of sins caused by human weakness and leading us into shameful things. But sin makes us defy our natural drives, making us put them to bad use. Unnatural human instinct is the product of original sin. We turn against our original innocence by doing the things that God never intended us to do. Despite this, God’s love for us never wanes. He still lets the rain fall on the good and the bad in the hope that we will reconcile ourselves to Him before we die so that “we will be pleasing to Him at our passing from this life.”
Jesus warns us not to get caught up in the idols of this world. In a few weeks we will be having our parish mission lead by Father Ho Lung. He and his brothers live in total poverty so that they can strive in a much deeper way to fulfill Jesus’ demand not to be deflected by worldly possessions and to strive to be holy and perfect like our Father in Heaven. St. Paul points out that the lifestyle of poverty, chastity and obedience is better, but it is also a calling from God to live that way. Living these good counsels serves as a counter cultural sign to remind us that we should balance our lives, as best as we can, with our worldly possessions because we will live, if we get there, in heaven where no one owns, is given in marriage and is totally obedient to God. These people, called by God, point us to in the direction of detachment that asks us to support our Pope in his appeal to support his charities, our Bishop to support his charities and me, your pastor, to support the mission of our parish. In this way, our balanced sacrifices fulfill our obligations to the Church in its many responsibilities to God.
Living in detachment has some mysterious rewards. I recall as a seminarian making a hermitage retreat where one day I had half a loaf of bread to sustain me. Although it was only one day, it taught me a lesson about how short our lives are and also how dependent we are on God’s generosity to us. We take a lot for granted. Being detached from material things gives a sense of profound joy and ease. I also learned this when I stayed with the Missionary of Charity Fathers in the South Bronx. I was worried about the safety of my car because their van was constantly broken into. Even with a legitimate concern, I could understand how we can worry about our possessions, but if you have none, there is no worry. Their break ins were just seen as an inconvenience. It did not detract from their prayer life or their mission.