A reading from the gospel according to Matthew 19:23-30
23 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.
24 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.”
25 When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?”
26 Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
27 Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?”
28 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.
29 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.
30 But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
Reflection: What does it take to enter the Kingdom of Heaven?
Good News: For God all things are possible.
Some important questions:
1. Is it really hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven?
• The prevalent culture of the present age is “to keep up with the Joneses” in terms of accumulating material wealth. In the process of doing so, we neglect our relationship with God. In many instances, earthly treasures have become a hindrance to a deeper and lasting relationship with the Lord. Man has the tendency to be independent, to feel secure by himself, and to be proud of his own achievement.
• On the other hand, the poor would always depend on God for provision and protection. Thus, he is prone to ask God for help and to develop fear in Him. This is not to say that those materially poor can easily enter the Kingdom.
* What is needed is detachment or spiritual poverty. We may have sizable wealth but if we make use of them in service to God and for others, we can enter the Kingdom of heaven.
2. Who then can be saved?
• While it is extremely difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven, it is NOT impossible because our God is also extremely merciful.
* Anyone, rich and poor alike, has a chance to be saved. What is needed is faithfulness in following Jesus.
3. What is the price (cost) of following Jesus?
• To follow Jesus means to forgo our own path and walk the narrow path that leads to life (Matthew 7:13-14).
• Forgoing physical wants and earthly joys, even leaving the comfort of home, is the cost of following Jesus.
4. What is the Prize (reward) of following Jesus?
• In the gospel passage above, Jesus promised 3 major rewards for His faithful followers:
a) His followers will sit on the throne with Him and judge the twelve tribes of Israel;
b) They will receive a hundred times more than what they have left behind;
c) They will inherit eternal life.
• In other words, a true follower of Jesus will not regret leaving behind houses and other treasures because they will receive blessings that are “pressed down, shaken, and running over” (Luke 6:38).
See also: Matthew 19:16-22 Reflection