Jesus said to his disciples, «Truly I say to you: it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven». On hearing this the disciples were astonished and said, «Who, then, can be saved?». Jesus looked steadily at them and answered, «For humans it is impossible, but for God all things are possible».
Then Peter spoke up and said, «You see we have given up everything to follow you: what will be our lot?». Jesus answered, «You who have followed me, listen to my words: on the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory, you, too, will sit on twelve thrones to rule the twelve tribes of Israel. As for those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my Name's sake, they will receive a hundredfold and be given eternal life. Many who are now first will be last, and many who are now last will be first».
Sometime we are lost with the teaching of the Lord, which is conditioned by our material possession and today’s gospel reading is one such occasion. I invite you to read today’s gospel as a continuation of yesterday’s, for you will understand His teaching in a better way.
From time to time one gets lost in the noise of the world and adhere to its understanding of the world, man and even God. The world sees man in terms of everything he possesses or does, and a good µLord should furnish these things to the humanity. A man rich in material goods, and if he is rich in his intelligence, and even richer in his moral character, is considered as a desirable state of life. Even believers will say that it is the Lord's blessing.
Today, Jesus invites us to review our lives and see if we are rich before God. It’s thus important for us to see, how God values our life and what kind of richness that will be pleasing to God? Certainly, we need material goods to live our life on earth. God created the world and found it good. We already recognise God's goodness and generosity in these material goods. Then, where is the problem in being rich? The end result of the world richness is, that the young man returned to his old way of life, sadly.
To avoid such accidents of life, the Lord asks us to free ourselves from these goods, so that He can fill us with His life, the divine life, as free children, the children of God. If we are able to surrender ourselves totally to God's providence, God will feed us with his generosity. We witness how God feeds so many people (monks), who still live on earth, in material poverty who are richly nourished by the generosity of men. Poverty on earth, (let us not reduce it to material poverty) makes us rich in heaven, and fortunately we will experience it here now on earth.
Action of the day: Embrace poverty in joy.
«It will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven... Who, then, can be saved?»
Fr. Fernando PERALES i Madueño
(Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain)
Today, we contemplate the reaction provoked by the dialogue of Jesus with the rich young man: «Who, then, can be saved?» (Mt 19:25). The words our Lord addressed to the rich young man are very tough and severe, but they are supposed to awake and surprise our drowsiness. They are not isolated words, to be found here and there in the Gospels: this type of message is repeated twenty times. We must remember it: Jesus warns us of the obstacle riches and wealth represents to enter life...
And, despite it all, Jesus loved and called wealthy men, without demanding from them the abandonment of their responsibilities. Wealth, per se, is not bad; its origin is, if it was unjustly acquired or its destination, if it is selfishly employed without bearing in mind the needy, if it closes our heart to the true spiritual values (where there is no need of God).
«Who can be saved?». Jesus responds: «For humans it is impossible, but for God all things are possible» (Mt 19:26). —Lord, You know quite well men's skills to attenuate your Word. I must say it, Lord, help me! Convert my heart.
After the rich young man left, sadly, because he wanted to stick to his wealth, Peter spoke and said: —Grant, O Lord, your Church and your Apostles, to be capable of abandoning everything for You.
«On the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory...» (Mt 19:28). Your thoughts are aiming towards this “day”, towards the future. You are a man with a tendency towards the end of the world, towards the plenitude of man. Then, Lord, everything will be new, renewed and beautiful.
Jesus Christ says: —«You who have given up everything will sit with the Son of Man... Will receive a hundredfold... and be given eternal life... (cf. Mt 19:28-29).
The future you promise to your disciples, to those who have followed you and have given up all obstacles... is a happy future, and it is the abundance of life, the plenitude of life.
—Thank you Lord. Guide me towards that day!