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Stuff

TLC and A&E have both been airing shows about hoarding, the complex psychological issue that makes people prisoners of their belongings.  People who suffer from this are often literally living on mounds and mounds of clothes, paper, knick-knacks, food and furniture, to the point where their houses become uninhabitable and their lives unlivable.

Our Gospel readings the past few weeks speak to this theme:  don't get too attached to your stuff.  Today's Gospel has the rich young man going away from Christ, sad.  Why is he sad?  Because Christ told him he must sell all his possessions and follow Him.  The young man does not or cannot.

I don't think Christ is telling us that we all have to give away or sell everything in order to be good Christians.  I do think He was telling this young man that very thing for a reason:  that particular young man was too attached to his stuff.  His stuff meant more to him than eternal life.  Christ saw this, He knew it, and He was saying to this young man,  "You have to be more attached to God than to your stuff.  Get rid of the stuff.  It's holding you back from your true life in Christ."

I try very hard not to get attached to stuff.  I am the first to admit that I love a good pair of shoes, a new scarf or a soft, warm sweater.  However, I also know that if you asked me for anything I own, I'd probably give it to you.  The danger of allowing overt attachments to things is a constant and evil one.  I want to always be able to say that I could do what Christ asked the young man:  get rid of all my stuff.  I also think that Jesus' remarks would be different to different people:  "You, give up your music.  You're too attached to it.  Then follow Me" or "You are too attached to your job.  Give that up, and follow Me"  or "Say 'so long, self' and then follow Me."

Where your treasure is, there your heart will be.  I don't want my treasure to be stuff.  And thankfully, neither does God.

Digging Out: Helping Your Loved One Manage Clutter, Hoarding, and Compulsive Acquiring

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