From a Creighton Student's Perspective
April 17, 2012
Senior, Theology Major, Pre-Med
What does it mean to own something?
This was the question that was running through my mind when I read the passages for today. We hear in the first reading how the early community of Christ’s disciples owned no personal possessions. As I quickly skimmed over this line the first time, I came to realize that I could hardly relate to this profound aspect of the disciples’ lives because it sometimes seems as though my life is consumed by my possessions. In fact, I could not even imagine what my life would be like without possessions because they are so entwined with my daily existence. Therefore, to better connect with the mindset of the disciples and see why they claimed no personal possessions, I came back to this question: What does it mean to own something?
I eventually discovered that “to own something” is to view an object or entity as being completely subject to one’s will or control. In other words, the possession is meant to serve or comply with whatever you want it to do. I soon made the connection that when I say I own something I really mean control, and I think that is what is at the heart of the first reading. I tend to have a need to always be in control of my own life and ensure everything adheres to the plan I have created. I think possessions help fuel this desire because they make one feel as though he or she can control his or her life and will find fulfillment in this act. However, the early disciples understood that true happiness and fulfillment come from knowing that only God is in control. God is the one who calls us to act and follow God, and we must be open and willing to respond. Therefore, the disciples emphasized this sense of being open to God by relinquishing all their possessions and sharing them with the whole community. With no possessions, the disciples came to depend both on each other and on God, and I think that is a lesson that can continue to provide guidance in my life today.
Because possessions are frequently at the forefront of my mind, I miss opportunities to see where I can share my gifts with others and see how my life is truly a blessing from God. Therefore, I think today’s readings truly help us see that we “must be born from above” and realize that all that we are and all that we have comes from God. I pray that we might reflect on ways to help free ourselves from our possessions and become a community reminiscent of the early community of believers.
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