510 S. Farwell St., Eau Claire WI 54701 • 715.835.3734 Map to the Cathedral

The Gift of the Kingdom

~Fr. Greene

There is only one simple qualification for being a disciple of Jesus: give up everything. That’s a pretty insurmountable obstacle. So hard is this qualification that earnest Christians have thought of many ways to soften Jesus’ words without washing all meaning and challenge out of them. It is often suggested that this qualification means we have to give up everything that comes between us and God. That is, if parents, children, spouses, friends, or fellow members of a community help us draw closer to God, we don’t have to give them up. The same would go for material possessions. Even monks and hermits have to use things in this world in order to live so we can’t give up having anything at all. The trick, it seems, is to use things in such a way that the work and recreation we do with them draws us closer to God rather than farther away. 

We could phrase this approach by saying that the problem is not possessions but possessiveness. God gives us parents, children, siblings, and friends as gifts. Likewise we should give each ourselves as gifts to other people. The things we use in the world are likewise gifts from God and should be treated accordingly. The problem comes when we prefer to take other people or take things rather than receive them. In such cases, the intensity of love we feel for others is actually possessiveness rather than love. Jesus gives his confusing direction to “hate” parents, children, siblings, and friends but it is to warn us not to be possessive of them. Taking people and things is the result of putting ourselves in competitive relationship with other people. When we compete with others, we have to win and a victory is something we earn, not a gift. This same competitiveness carries over to our attitudes toward possessions. We often want things that other people have or want to have things at the expense of others so that we can claim a victory over them. Competitiveness, however, is a bottomless pit. If we win one round, we always fear losing the next. If we have to have more than other people, or at least as much, we have to keep on accumulating more things no matter the damage our hoarding does to ourselves or others. In all this, the people we try defeat and our lust to win through possessions become stumbling blocks between ourselves and God. This is what we have to give up.

It sounds simple, but in the heat of daily battles, we find that the possessiveness born of competitiveness is very hard to renounce and it amounts to carrying our cross daily. If we can daily renounce our possessiveness, we will indeed receive everything from God and from one another as Gift.

 

Service Schedule

DUE TO THE COVID-19 HEALTH CONCERNS ALL SERVICES AND ACTIVITIES HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED IN ORDER TO COMPLY WITH THE STATE OF WISCONSIN REQUIREMENTS AND THE HEALTH AND WELLBEING OF OUR COMMUNITY. 

Sunday
Rite II Eucharist – 9:00 am, Cathedral

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