Homily for the Twenty-Third Sunday in Ordinary Time September 4, 2022

  Following Jesus and renouncing our possessions

This gospel is pretty harsh sounding and dramatic, isn’t it. Can you imagine, Jesus asking that we renounce all our possessions? Can you imagine doing that! A demanding challenge such as this is best handled indirectly. And so…let me share some stories…


One day an Indian boy found a large pearl that he thought to be priceless. Now he knew his worries were over. He would never have to work again in his life.


But when the boy tried to sell the pearl, the buyers put him off. In the days ahead the boy was attacked several times. Now he knew the pearl buyers were out to rob him and possibly kill him. He had a choice to make—between the pearl and his life.


With the pearl buyers looking on, the boy went down to the beach, took the pearl, and threw it into the sea as far as he could.


There is a story of a woman who had been used to every luxury and to all respect. She died, and when she arrived in heaven, an angel was sent to conduct her to her house there. They passed many a lovely mansion and the woman thought that each one, as they came to it, must be the one allotted to her. When they had passed through the main streets, they came to the outskirts where the houses were much smaller; and on the very fringe they came to a house which was little more than a shack. “That is your house,” said the conducting angel.


“What!” said the woman. “That! I cannot live like that.” “I am sorry,” said the angel. ‘but that is all we could build with the materials you sent up.”


Here’s a story about how people catch monkeys in India. They cut a small hole in a sturdy box; then they put a tasty nut inside the box. The hole is large enough for the monkey to put its hand through, but it’s too small for the monkey to withdraw its hand once it has clutched the nut inside.


So the monkey has two choices. It can let go of the nut and go free, or it can clutch the nut and remained trapped. Monkeys usually hang onto the nut.



These are stories about how possessions actually have an impact—on freedom, on life, and on our eternal destiny in heaven. They make good food for thought and for prayerful meditation…