September 30, 2018 —Twenty-sixth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Our Gospel passage and the Second Reading from the letter of St. James urge us to examine our lives for anything that is keeping us from loving God above all else.
Jesus says, “If your hand causes you to sin, cut it off… If your foot causes you to sin, cut it off. And if your eye causes you to sin, pluck it out.”
St. James warns, “Come now, you rich, weep and wail over your impending miseries. Your wealth has rotted away, your clothes have become moth-eaten, your gold and silver have corroded, and that corrosion will be a testimony against you.”
The urgency of our need to detach from all that is not God is clear. When we hold onto possessions too tightly, they come to possess us. The “stuff” can easily become the focus of our energy and attention. Attachment to material things slowly and steadily corrupts.
The spiritual discipline of tithing — or stewardship of treasure — can help us with this. Tithing leads us to let go of unhealthy attachment to material things and leads us to attach instead to God, relying on Him as our true source of security and happiness. We come to understand that all that we have is a gift from our loving Father and we use it to bless others and glorify Him.
Amazingly, we actually enjoy material gifts, and all other gifts, moreas a result because we realize where they really came from and are using them as God intended. What wonderful freedom there is in living this way!