Grace to you!
Have you seen one of the series of the television program called Hoarders? It is one of those programs that could make anyone think through some choices we make in keeping things we do not need.
The hoarder believes everything he or she keeps in the home is essential, indispensable. Thus, over the years, they accumulate so much stuff. They do not have breathing space in their homes anymore. Those things become hazardous, and the hoarder doesn't seem to be aware of it.
There was this true story told of a clergy who never allowed people into his bedroom. Not even the rectory cleaner was allowed either. When he died, people found there were bottles of wine and bottles of water stacked in there. These were in addition to so much junky stuff that may have been there for three decades. Those things were smelly, making the room unlivable. He never drank, but he accumulated wine he never used. I understand, sometimes, this can be a health condition. Those in a situation as this need our prayers.
Let's refocus attention on other forms of hoarding. Who would you call a hoarder? Are they only the people featured on the television series Hoarders? I don't think so. For me, hoarding could be in different degrees, from simple to complex. A hoarder is anyone who keeps things he or she doesn't need and would hardly give it out. Those could vary from pairs of shoes, clothes, food, cars, etc.
The psychology of a hoarder is a form of attachment to stuff and the inability to let go. This attachment grows over time. It becomes more severe because the older we get, and if we are attached to things, the more challenging to downsize.
For those called to ordained ministry, this could distract from the mission. Many a parish priest who is attached to things finds it very difficult to sacrifice for the cause of the Lord. Attachment to things could be a barrier to the ministry.
One of the specific instructions the Lord gave to the twelve apostles when he sent them out in twos to go and preach was detachment. Let me read a piece of that instruction. "He charged them to take nothing for their journey except a staff, no bread, no bag, no money in their belts; but to wear sandals and not put on two tunics" (Mk 6:8-9).
For me, it hit home the point that detachment is necessary to effective ministry. It doesn't mean that the ministers of God should not provide for tomorrow. It means that trust in providence keeps us alert to the calling of God. It keeps us close to the needs of God's people, many of whom struggle every day to make both ends meet. Some sort of minimalism concerning the property we keep is healthy for the soul.
The message of detachment is vital for many today. It could help us in making the right economic decisions for our tomorrow, downsize when needed, and avoid hoarding stuff we do not need. When next you are in the shopping mall, do you pause before you pay for one more item you don’t really need?
If I may ask you, don't you think it is the right time to donate those pairs of shoes you have not worn for years to charity? Don't you think somebody who has no shirts could make better use of your spare? Remember, all material things have a life span.
God love you. God bless you.
Fr. Maurice Emelu
[Thursday Week 4: 1Kgs. 2:1-4,10-12; Mk 6:7-13]
Fr. Maurice Emelu, Ph.D.
Father Maurice provides a daily blog of reflections based on Scriptural readings of the day from the Catholic liturgical calendar. You will find these reflections helpful for your spiritual growth, inspiration and developing your own thoughts. It may also be helpful for ministers in preparing their sermons for liturgical celebrations.