Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Reflection: Matthew 19:23-30

Tuesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time - Matthew 19:23-30

Today Jesus tells his disciples that it is easier for a “camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God.” For many of us, this statement of Jesus sounds strange. Jesus was speaking of the narrow and low gates of the city walls, which were used by travelers after dark when the public gate was locked. A normal sized person had to lower himself to enter through this gate. A camel literally had to kneel and crawl through the gate.

When Jesus uses this analogy of “a camel passing through the eye of a needle,” his listeners immediately would understand what Jesus was implying. They knew that it would be absolutely impossible for any camel to pass through the eye of a needle. Or if a camel tried to pass through a city gate that had been closed for the night, the camel would not be able to do so. The closed passage would be too narrow.

Why was Jesus so cautious about wealth? Wealth can bring many blessings and many challenges. Wealth also may create a sense of false security. Our wealth may enable us to lord it over others or to think we are better than others. Wealth has the potential to be an obstacle to having a true understanding of where the true riches in our lives lie: the individuals we love, joy, peace, our faith, God’s love and care for us and our relationship with God.

When we are comfortable and happy, God may get relegated to the background of our lives rather than the foreground. Some of us may turn to God only when we are in need. Ask yourself: when life is more positive and happy for you, do you give God the same amount of your time and attention? Do you thank God for your many blessings or does God seem to recede into the background?

Today ask yourself: what is the wealth in my life? More importantly: who is the wealth in my life? Who and what are my riches? Take time to thank God for abundance of wealth in your life, even if you struggle with finances. Name and give thanks for the people who enrich your life with their presence, care, and love. Give thanks for the beauty of this planet, for laughter, for children, flowers, and anything else that brings you joy, peace or pleasure. We are rich! Do we take this richness, this wealth for granted?

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