On How One Can Enter the Kingdom of Heaven

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Reflection on the Gospel of the Tuesday In The Nineteenth Week In Ordinary Time

Matthew 19:23-30

This statement of Jesus is very difficult to understand in its complete sense, because of the words used and the illustration of the camel and the eye of a needle, that Jesus uses. But we have to look at the background in which Matthew places this statement of Jesus.

Jesus says these lines in response to a Rich Young Man who has just visited him

  • The Young Man was a devout Jew.
  • living his life in accordance with the Law.
  • Yet he was inquiring with Jesus the way to Eternal Life.
  • This helps us understand his sincerity in wanting to please God.
    • Against this we have the opposite example of the Pharisees and scribes
    • who lived their lives in accordance with the legal requirements of the law
    • but their hearts were far away
  • Jesus points to him, that he requires to give up his wealth and follow him
    • to which the rich man goes away dejected
    • This young man had made the gathering of wealth the priority in his life
    • He did not wish to push it aside and
    • Let God take the first place in his life
  • It is not that God despises wealth
    • he wishes to show us that wealth and riches have an ability to blind us
    • blind us to the truth
    • thus we end up getting rolled up in slime even more.

Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

  • A camel was an animal used by traders and was often overladen with goods.
  • Jesus is drawing similarity between a rich person and a traders camel.
    • When the Main Big Gate of a city was closed
    • the smaller side gate was used to enter the city.
    • At such times it was easy for the trader to unburden his camel
    • and move his goods and camel into the city through the narrow side gate.
  • But a Rich Person, already blinded by his riches
    • cannot see the practicality of removing the obstacles in his life that prevent him from entering.
    • He rather stay outside of the protection of the city gates and face the dangers therein.
    • he may even loose his life in the bargain.
  • Pride and false self-esteem that the love of wealth brings in, eventually destroys a person

“Who then can be saved?”

  • The disciples understand what Jesus is teaching them
  • but they ask Jesus
    • in this world
    • which revolves around wealth and money
    • how can one not chase money
    • This is a question even those today reflect upon many a times.
  • Jesus answers in light of his teaching in Matthew 6
    • for humanity to find a balance and proper way to respond to God and Money is difficult
    • This can only be brought about by God’s Spirit in our lives
    • Matthew 6:33 says – Seek First God’s Kingdom, and he will help you with everything else.
    • If we don’t take God at his word, and don’t pursue him
    • we will not be able to see how he provides for us, each day, each moment.

 

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