The passage today is advice to the early Christian followers of Jesus to travel light, to keep a distance between themselves and their material possessions. It is undoubtedly based on advice Jesus gave his followers during his public life when he sent them forth to prepare the way in the towns and cities he was planning to visit.
It was not meant to be taken literally, but it was not meant to be dismissed as rhetoric either. Jesus and his band had a treasury, we know, because Judas the treasurer was a thief and stole from it. The apostles appointed deacons to handle administration.
The church today has enormous goods at its disposal, which generally are used well. Yet there is a terrible danger that financial administration will be confused with religious leadership – from the parish society on up to the Vatican.
Fr. Greeley's Last Book:
Once upon a time a mommy and a daddy were preparing to take their two children for two weeks vacation in the country. They had, as do most mommies and daddies these days, a sports utility vehicle (SUV). They figured that they would travel light. For two weeks you don’t have to bring the whole house, do you?
Since the SUV was big, it was easy to pile things into it. First of all, they packed clothes. Because you can never tell what you might have to do or where you might have to go at the Lake or what the weather will be like, they didn’t really pack any more things then they would need for, let us say, a trip to Paris. Moreover they wanted their kids to look their best. So they packed comprehensive wardrobes for them too. You can never tell what might happen on a vacation, can you?
Then there was the matter of toys and similar stuff. The weather might be bad so they had to pack enough toys to keep the kids happy if they were imprisoned in a cottage for two weeks. But the weather might be good, so they had to pack enough toys that the kids wouldn’t be bored on the beach. Then each of the kids had their favorite toys without which they could not survive. Did I forget the family dog?
Eventually the SUV was fully loaded and there was room for everyone except the mommy and the daddy. So they rearranged things. There hardly was room to breathe in SUV. When they got to the lake, they had to unpack all their stuff. When their vacation was over (as alas vacations tend to be) they repacked everything to drive home. Then when they arrived home they had to unpack everything. No one was talking to one another for three days.
1 Preserve me, O God, for in you I take refuge.
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