E.B. Washburne described how Ulysses S. Grant went into battle during the Civil War: “The success of the battle depended upon the swiftness of movement. It was important that Grant should be encumbered with as little baggage as possible. He took with him no orderly…or an overcoat, not even a clean shirt. His entire baggage for six days was a toothbrush. He lived like a common soldier, sleeping on the ground with no covering except the canopy of heaven.”
Today’s Gospel reminds us that the incarnation of God’s Word involves the stripping away of material and emotional things that are unimportant so Christ can use every part of our life as He wills.
More options are laid open for God when we throw off the baggage we’ve been clinging to for security’s sake. When we muster courage to act in faith, we can live more simply and become more aware of our human life in Christ.
Commit yourself to becoming more human by hearing more things around you, like birds or a clap of thunder. Listen more quietly to what people are really saying. Respond gratefully to your encounters with Christ in your work and in your play. It is only with a dispossessed heart that we discover the mystery of Christ’s life on earth.