Ezekiel 28:1-10, Deut. 32:26-36, Matthew 19:23-30

“Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 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.” (Matthew 19:23-24)

Why would it be hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of God? Is it the case that God is against riches? After all, wasn’t Abraham the richest man on earth in his time? After Job’s trials, didn’t God restore his riches twice as much as he had before? Even Solomon, when God told him to ask for anything and he asked only for wisdom, didn’t God add riches as well? In fact, could the scriptures be wrong when it says in Proverbs 10:22 that: “The blessing of the Lord makes rich, and he adds no sorrow with it”? 

So why did Jesus say it will be hard for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven? The same reason God is not happy with the prince of Tyre in today’s first reading. God has no problem with riches but the truth is that riches tend to make us see ourselves as gods and we push God aside. We begin to beat our chest and forget that it is God who took us from nothing to something. This is precisely the problem of the prince of Tyre. God says to him: 

“Because your heart is proud, and you have said, ‘I am a god, …(yet you are but a man, and no god)… by your wisdom and your understanding, you have gotten wealth for yourself,’ … therefore thus says the Lord GOD: ‘…behold, I will bring strangers upon you, the most terrible of the nations; and they shall draw their swords against the beauty of your wisdom and defile your splendour’” (Ezekiel 28:2-7).  

In the case of the rich young man, we could become so attached to our riches that we begin to worship our possessions. On the other hand, even in our poverty, we could love riches so much that we become willing to do anything, no matter how sinful, just to become rich. As Jesus explained in the parable of the sower, our love for riches could become thorns which choke God’s word in us making it unfruitful. 

There is another type of riches that Jesus encourages in our Gospel passage. It is the riches of detachment from this world’s goods for sake of the kingdom of God. It is the riches of generosity. According to Jesus: “Everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life.” (Matthew 19:29).

Let us pray: Almighty ever-living God, give me the grace of humility and generosity that I may not be like the young man who walked away sorrowful.Through Christ our Lord. Amen 

Be Happy. Live Positive. Have Faith. It is well with you. God bless you. (Tuesday of the 20th Week in Ordinary Time. Bible Study: Ezekiel 28:1-10, Deut. 32:26-36, Matthew 19:23-30).