In the modern world, it’s easy to become attached to material possessions. We accumulate clothes, shoes, gadgets, and more, often finding it difficult to let go. However, Bishop Neil Scantlebury of Bridgetown, Barbados told participants of Jesus Explosion that attachment to material things can hinder spiritual growth.
Delivering the homily at the closing Mass of the 21st edition of Jesus Explosion July 9, Bishop Scantlebury said, “You know people fight over house and land, all kinds of things, but when we kick the bucket what going to happen?
“You ever see a car going down into a hole with the person being buried? You ever see a house going down into a hole with the person being buried? We leave these things behind. I mean we have thousands upon thousands of dollars saved up and when you kick the bucket what happens? Your children come and within a month they done spend it.
“We attach and we hold on to things that we have to let go of. It is not easy but what happens is that it blocks our spiritual life. We are so focused upon the material things that we are not allowing room for the spirit to grow.”
The bishop said sometimes, life presents us with unexpected events that force us to re-evaluate our priorities. He shared a powerful example of Category 5 hurricanes Maria and Irma that devastated the British Virgin Islands, causing the loss of cherished possessions.
This experience he said, served as a reminder that material things are temporary and can be taken away from us at any moment. Bishop Scantlebury said events like these provide valuable lessons, teaching us to detach ourselves from material possessions and focus on more lasting values.
The power of giving
Declaring that detachment goes hand in hand with giving, Bishop Scantlebury encouraged everyone to give generously to those in need, not as a means to acquire more material possessions, but as a way to express love for God and fellow human beings.
“We not giving away to go and buy more stuff you know, some of you may think that but we give away because there are people in need and I wish to help them. That my love for God goes out to others and that I embrace them and I allow God’s grace to transform me in that I can give. Yes, charity, and kindness really and truly call for you and for me to take another look at all our shoes and hats and our bags, our shirts, pants, and dresses. We can share them and carry them to the St Vincent de Paul Society, the Salvation Army. We can carry them to others.”
Prioritising family and relationships
Bishop Scantlebury also urged the congregation to prioritise their families and nurture relationships. In a world dominated by technological distractions, he said it is crucial to carve out dedicated time for our loved ones. Setting boundaries such as implementing no cell phone zones or designated family time, he said, can help us reconnect on a deeper level.
“If we will be serious and say no cell phones at the dining room table, leave your phone in your bedroom, we come and we will eat together and not just disappear when you finish, you will disappear after half an hour or an hour together when the last person finishes then you will go. We have to lay down some rules. We got to give them a little bit of tough love,” he said.
Spending time with our families, Bishop Scantlebury said, will bring tremendous benefits as it would allow our children and grandchildren to “experience the grace and love of God through us, that we don’t look to beat them down but we raise them up, let them see the good in themselves, help them to recognise the good qualities that they have, that we become instruments of letting them realise that God loves them.”
To truly embrace detachment and grow spiritually, Bishop Scantlebury said we need to develop a well-defined plan. He advocated spending time reading the Bible, engaging in prayer, and participating in family activities.
In the midst of our busy lives, Bishop Scantlebury also encouraged Roman Catholics to spend time before the Blessed Sacrament in adoration. This practice, he said, allows us to receive divine grace, find peace in our hearts and minds, and equip ourselves for the spiritual battles we face.
He also stated that by inviting the intercession of the Blessed Mother through the daily recitation of the Rosary, we can seek her guidance and protection on our journey to Heaven.