January 19, 2012 - Thursday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time

Today's Readings

How far Saul has come from the days when he used to chase after runaway donkeys! When Saul was named king, it was like winning the lottery, a completely unexpected windfall, but now that he has been king for a few years, he is ready to kill David at the mere suggestion of a threat to his dynasty. It is so easy to go from humble gratitude to expectation.

Jonathan, meanwhile, who grew up in the lap of luxury, such as it was 3000 years ago, yet he is not afraid. By all rights, he should be the next king. He grew up expecting to be king, and then David appears out of nowhere. But Jonathan did not hate David. In fact, he loved him. Because Jonathan did not have his father’s attachment to the royal throne, he was free to see David not as a threat but as a friend.

Consider us here today. We live like kings. We live better than kings. Who would give up central heating, indoor plumbing, cars, and cell phones for a stone castle? If somehow all of these disappeared, we would complain that we have been treated unfairly. How can a person live without these basic necessities? Yet people did live without them for millennia. Now that we have them, we cannot imagine giving them up. This is how Saul felt at the prospect of returning to the life of a simple farmer.

The things of this world can be tools or chains. If we use them as our servants, they will be tools. If we let our attachment to them cause us to be afraid at the thought of losing them, they will be chains. Whatever you are attached to: technology, position, getting ‘A’s, a television show, having a certain standard of wealth, a relationship with a person, whatever, do not let the attachment bind you.

What motive lies behind every sin? An attachment that we refused to break. Be stronger than these attachments. Be free, radically free. There is no feeling of power like letting go. Every attachment screams: “You cannot live without me. You will never be happy if you leave me behind.” We know this is a lie. Our happiness does not exist in any of these things. Our happiness is in God. Be ready at all times to cut off an attachment that is preventing you from doing what you ought to do. Sacrifice everything, but be free to follow God.