Today’s Gospel: Matthew 19:23-30 – Queenship of the Blessed Virgin Mary
This story is appealing, isn’t it? We like to root for the underdog. The Tortoise and the Hare. The Little Engine that Could. David and Goliath. Here we get to cheer for the poor man. The one who gives everything up will have glory. The rich man, well, we didn’t like him much anyway.
Who is the rich man?
I want to identify with the disciples, but I did not give up everything and follow Jesus. I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I have never gone hungry except by choice. Am I the one who is rich? That can’t be right. I watch TV. I know what rich looks like and I am not it. At least, I think I’m not. I hope I’m not. I do not want to be the rich one in this story.
But why? Because getting to Heaven is hard? Isn’t it hard for everyone?
Jesus is not fanning class tensions. He is not grouping us into numbered sets articulating tax obligations. For politicians, whether you are rich or poor can be determined mainly by whether they are asking for your vote or your money.
Jesus is different. He is not telling us to punch up. He is telling us that the path is narrow and unfair. Heaven is impossible. (Note to self: do not identify with the hero when Jesus tells stories.)
The disciples understood and were incredulous. “Who then can be saved?”
It’s easy to breeze by this familiar line. “But for God all things are possible.” We can think of signs and stories and miracles and they are compelling. But what is the miracle here? The impossible thing which proves God’s awesome power? Saving us. That is humbling.
What makes it harder for the rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven? What makes it hard for us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Lord, thank You for loving us. Thank You for offering the impossible gift of salvation. Teach us not let worldly riches weigh us down. Where and when they do, help us to let go and cling to You.
Copyright 2017 Beth Hersom
Beth is a cradle Catholic and mother to three daughters. She writes about faith and family, and the journey of parenting a child who has significant medical difficulties, at her website: joyfulcatholicmom.blogspot.com
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