said to them, "Take nothing for the journey ...”
(St. Luke 9.3)
We are wanting
in nothing, except faith. Of course we trust
in God, but we are appalled at His treatment of His friends, His
Saints. Look at St. Paul himself:
“Even unto this hour we both hunger and
thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted, and have no fixed abode; ...
we are reviled, and we bless; we are persecuted, and we suffer it. We
are blasphemed, and we entreat; we are made as the refuse of this world,
the off-scouring of all even until now.”
(I Corinthians 4.11-13)
Somehow we have lost something in the translation.
Jesus told us that who would follow Him on the journey must
“take up his cross”.
Not his cell phone, or her PDA, or laptop, extra clothing and, oh yes,
the extra twenty dollars ... “just in case” — in short,
all the things of this world that you cannot carry into the next. This
leaves you with decidedly little for the journey, and if we look at
St. Paul and the Saints, it is decidedly not an easy or comfortable
Who told you it would be?
This is perplexing.
Somehow we have
translated faith into warm blankets, secure shelter, respectable clothing,
adequate money, abundant food, and being well-received (after all, we
are ambassadors of Christ. Okay, so they did not receive
Him terribly well two thousand years ago, but times have changed ...
especially if you are a “professional”
Catholic: you know, one who earns a salary selling to others
what was freely given to you) ... and, “oh, yes, would you
place that cross on the baggage trolley, too?”
Christ is the Wisdom of God. He knows that we have to travel light and
despite all our clutching, have to let go of the money we earned preaching
the Gospel in the much in the way that the Sophist Protagoras*
It can't pass
through the Needle’s Eye.
What is worse,
if it is bound to you too tightly ... neither will you ...
You must look at all about you and say, with Christ,
“Where I am going, you cannot follow.”
Geoffrey K. Mondello
for the Boston Catholic Journal
antagonist in Plato’s Dialogue, “Protagoras”
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