The story of the pious rich man who refused Jesus’ call (Mk 10:17-22) is a powerful reminder that discipleship is impossible without substantial detachment from material goods and from all the benefits they confer. People on a journey cannot hope to carry with them everything they own; they need to learn to do without some of their home conveniences.

The more free we are of an urgency to surround ourselves with material goods and to possess them, the further we have traveled along the road to God.

We need to learn to free ourselves of the emotional tyranny of material goods, and even our fearful dependence on the more fundamental assets that are the basis of our ongoing security.

Of course discipleship is not primarily a matter of having no money. The poverty that Jesus declared blessed calls for a heartfelt and joy-filled reliance on an all-provident Father. This necessarily involves a certain detachment from all alternative sources of security, gratification, prestige, and affirmation.

-Michael casey

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