The Gospel lectionary reading for today comes from Luke 9:1-6....I love the fact that when Pope Francis arrived here in the United States yesterday he chose as his mode of transport a tiny Fiat. Of course we know that this is a Pope who has eschewed pomp and circumstance at almost every turn of the road. Right off the bat he refused to live in the grand papal apartment at the Vatican, selecting a much more humble bedroom instead in the Vatican hotel. He does not wear the grand papal vestments that his predecessor wore. He refuses to have the papal insignia on his chair at mass. He chooses to live simply that others may simply live.
Then Jesus called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. He said to them, 'Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money - not even an extra tunic. Whatever house you enter, stay there, and leave from there. Wherever they do not welcome you, as you are leaving that town shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.' They departed and went through the villages, bringing the good news and curing diseases everywhere.
In all of this Pope Francis is quite clearly following the example of his namesake, St. Francis of Assisi, but even more, he is following the advice of Jesus in our passage for today from Luke: "Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money - not even an extra tunic."
Great freedom comes not from accumulating lots of stuff in this life, but from giving it away and traveling light. I wonder: what things might God be calling each one of us to give up in order to follow Jesus with greater freedom and reckless abandon?