Once in a while I would see an enduring characteristic in a student that would prompt me say, “I’ve noticed you are _______. You would make a good Jesuit.” Usually students would say thanks or I don’t think so and then there is that one time when I got, “Oh, I can’t do that. I have too many possessions.” I don’t know that this student intended to quote the story of the rich young man, but he did.
Luke Timothy Johnson, in his commentary on Luke 19, reminds us “that the disposition of the heart is symbolized by the disposition of possessions.” The rich young man, who clings to his possessions, walks away from Jesus’ call. Zacchaeus, who is willing to share generously, can happily welcome Jesus.
Today, I might look to my orientation toward possessions as an insight into the orientation of my heart. Am I attached? Am I free? I speak with God about this.
—Brad Held, S.J., a Jesuit of the Wisconsin province, is currently a theology student at Boston College School of Theology and Ministry. He has just come from 3 years of teaching at Red Cloud Indian School on the Holy Rosary Jesuit Mission in Pine Ridge, SD.