20th Week in Ordinary Time
1st Reading: Ezk 28:1-10
The word of the LORD came to me: Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre: Thus says the Lord GOD: Because you are haughty of heart, you say, “A god am I! I occupy a godly throne in the heart of the sea!”— And yet you are a man, and not a god, however you may think yourself like a god. Oh yes, you are wiser than Daniel, there is no secret that is beyond you. By your wisdom and your intelligence you have made riches for yourself; You have put gold and silver into your treasuries. By your great wisdom applied to your trading you have heaped up your riches; your heart has grown haughty from your riches– therefore thus says the Lord GOD: Because you have thought yourself to have the mind of a god, Therefore I will bring against you foreigners, the most barbarous of nations. They shall draw their swords against your beauteous wisdom, they shall run them through your splendid apparel. They shall thrust you down to the pit, there to die a bloodied corpse, in the heart of the sea. Will you then say, “I am a god!” when you face your murderers? No, you are man, not a god, handed over to those who will slay you. You shall die the death of the uncircumcised at the hands of foreigners, for I have spoken, says the Lord GOD.
Gospel: Mt 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples: “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again, I say to you, it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
FOR GOD ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE: There is a general belief that wealth is a manifest of the blessing of God but Jesus sees wealth as a hindrance to spiritual progress. The teachings of Jesus against the wealth comes in the context of the rich young man who desired to inherit eternal life but went away grieved hearing the demands of Jesus. There is no doubt that the teachings of Jesus left the disciples and other hearers too wondering about wealth. Jesus did not say that it is impossible for the rich to enter into the kingdom but he says “it will be hard.” The comparison to a camel going through the eye of a needle emphasizes the difficulty of the rich to enter into the kingdom. The question of Peter is a common question of the disciples. Jesus promises eternal life in whatever left. The cost of discipleship is enormous but brings with it many benefits.
Prayer: Lord help me to avoid obstacles of material gains so that I may inherit your kingdom.
I WILL BE WITH YOU: The most serene promise to the human heart is that of being with the other. It scares from the depth of being to be alone and abandoned. The journey of life requires companionship. The other who stands above all, and the fountain of our being gives the surety of peace and victory. When we realize that we are not alone on the journey of life, then we are most prepared for the future and ultimate eternity. What keeps us going is the assurance that, I will be with you. An attempt to replace the Lord leaves us scared and incapable for life. We are called to give our all and follow him for there is a reward here on earth and in heaven.
RICHNESS, A BLESSING: Jesus underlines the difficulties and the dangers wealth can bring. It gives him a sense of false independence. Its safety and security would prevent him to depend on God. Such person would consider that dependence on God as something useless and meaningless. Secondly, the wealth makes a person to be bound to his wealth alone. A rich man is always busy with how to accumulate more. All his thoughts would be on how he can store more and where. That’s why Jesus said, “Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Mat 6:21). Such a person will not have time to think about heaven and its lasting realities. Nor would he be bothered about accumulating something in heaven for him. Thirdly, wealth makes him selfish. He may not bother those who he oppress to accumulate wealth. All his concern would be on wealth than relating to human beings. Hence, Jesus calls for the wise use of wealth in our lives.