First Reading: Ezk 28:1-10; Psalm: Dt 32. R. v. 18b; Gospel: Mt 19:23-30
THE DANGER OF RICHES
BY FR VALENTINE NNAMDI EGBUONU, MSP
“Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19:23).
These words of Jesus was a follow up to the refusal of the rich young man who walked away because Jesus asked him to sell all his possession and give the proceeds to the poor. This came as a shock to him that he had to walk away. Any rich person who reads this verse of the scriptures may be bothered about it or may consider it a harsh and an unfair thing to say about them. For why would Jesus generalise from a single experience to conclude that riches could hinder them from entering heaven.
The rich man who came to Jesus earlier to inquire what he must do to gain eternal life was really keen to know the requirements. He wanted to know what he lacked in order to amend his life for the sake of the kingdom of God. He had kept the entire commandment but felt he may be lacking something very important. Jesus saw the honesty of this rich man who desired eternal life and told him what he lacked which was charity. Although he had kept all the commandments but he needed to be charitable. When he heard that he had to give away what he had to follow Jesus, he went away dispirited.
The reaction of this rich young man was precisely the point of Jesus. Jesus was saying that we should not allow ourselves to be possessed by our possessions. The only reason why it will be difficult for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God is when he allows his wealth to possess and take control over him. Our love for God and neighbour should precede every other thing including our wealth if we must inherit eternal life. It is one thing to discover what is right and it is another thing to do it. This rich man failed to follow the newly discovered truth. Are we ready to act to the contrary? Our love for earthly things should be too insignificant to rob us of the kingdom of God.
PRAYER FOR THE DAY
Lord Jesus, may our love for you grow above every earthly possession so that the gifts you have given us may not rob us of what is more important; the salvation of our souls. Amen.