“One’s life does not consist in the abundance of possessions” (Lk 12:15)
In today’s Gospel Jesus seems to be advocating ‘discernment leading to detachment’. A challenging attitude for us to adopt, especially with the dominant narrative being to acquire more of everything like the Rich Fool did: ‘Greed is good!’ But as true followers of Jesus the counter-narrative – simple living and high thinking (Focus) – needs to be our identity.
Jesus says that our worth is determined not by our assets, qualifications or relationships but by the life we lead. But is it practical? Does not detachment require us to be passive and live an isolated life? Not at all! Detachment is not about being uninvolved but about being realistic and living for other people. Jesus invites us to make detachment from our selfish needs our identity, bitter though it may seem.
For example, I may excel in football. But if I consider my identity as only that of a ‘footballer’ then quite likely I will become attached to it and forget everything else. But if I say, “I play good football,” I am detaching myself and keeping my identity as a human being with many talents and responsibilities rather than reducing myself to a mere footballer.