The Rich and the Kingdom of Heaven
In one of the most lahar-stricken areas in central Luzon, a priest met a religious sister while they were distributing their school’s donation. This religious sister, according to this priest, recounted her observations, experiences and stories shared to her by people during the tragic days. She said that one thing that stuck to her mind was about the man who upon seeing his pig being eaten up by the lahar, dove to rescue the pig, oblivious of the warnings and pleadings of the neighbors. Before their eyes, they saw the man die, embracing his pig. What a foolish thing to do! But isn’t this what most of us are doing? It is truly a silly thing to die for false securities, isn’t it?
Was Jesus really against money or wealth? And why does he issue such a strong warning to the rich as well as to the rest of us who desire to be rich? Money is something we treasure, for it allows us to buy our way to what our hearts desires.
We know that Jesus was not opposed to wealth per se, nor was he opposed to the wealthy. Wealth is created by God and therefore it is good. Also, He had many friends who were rich, including some notorious tax collectors. What Jesus teaches is that we should live the evangelical counsel of poverty. This means: detachment from material things and attachment to Christ. Let us reflect on the three kinds of evangelical poverty:
Material Poverty. Christ uses strong words to warn us of our attraction to anything material. Whether we are attached to lavish things or simple things, it makes little difference. No matter what the size of the attachment, our soul will not be able fly to the heights of perfection. Although hard for many, material poverty can be a first step towards affective poverty and path to holiness.
Poverty of Mind. Upon hearing Christ’s words, the apostles “were greatly astonished and said, ‘Who then can be saved?’” Christ tells us not to be astonished when we discover that his ways are not our ways. In this relativistic world, we are too willing to latch on to any reasoning that justifies our opinions or suits our fancy. “This subjectivity, or wanting to be led by our own way of feeling and thinking, is a persistent threat especially in our times. It is the cause of so many personal failures in spiritual and moral matters, since our intelligence, deprived of the superior light of faith and revelation, will go unchecked even in the most obvious and common things, calling good and true what is evil and erroneous
Poverty of Heart. “What will there be for us?” How many sacrifices we make for Christ are nullified by self-seeking! We may have detached ourselves from the luxury of material possessions, but perhaps we remain attached to the praise we receive for having done so. We know we are working for God’s glory when we are willing to do good without expecting any reward.
The hard saying is, “it is much harder for a rich person to enter the Kingdom of God than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle.”
OPTION 01, 02, 03,