As he was setting out on a journey, a man ran up and knelt before him, and asked him, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?”Jesus said to him, “Why do you call me good? No one is good but God alone. You know the commandments: ‘You shall not murder; You shall not commit adultery; You shall not steal; You shall not bear false witness; You shall not defraud; Honor your father and mother.’”
He said to him, “Teacher, I have kept all these since my youth.” Jesus, looking at him, loved him and said, “You lack one thing; go, sell what you own, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; then come, follow me.” When he heard this, he was shocked and went away grieving, for he had many possessions.
Then Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it will be for those who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God!” And the disciples were perplexed at these words. But Jesus said to them again, “Children, how hard it is to enter the kingdom of God! It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.” They were greatly astounded and said to one another, “Then who can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.”
Today’s Gospel reading reminds us that it is not enough to keep all of God’s commandments but also to cultivate a generous heart that alleviates the suffering of the poor. Note that Jesus does not define what poverty is or what it looks like here. Pope Francis, however, outlines three kinds of poverty for us—material poverty (lacking the basic needs of food, clothing, shelter), moral poverty (slavery to vice and sinful habits and practices), and lastly, spiritual poverty (those who do not know or have rejected the love of Christ). If we are rich while others are poor, we are warned that 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.”
Reflect upon poverty and wealth in your life. In what areas of your life are you materially, morally, and spiritually poor?
—Julianne Stanz is a speaker, writer and mother of two, originally from Ireland. She currently serves as Director of the New Evangelization for the Diocese of Green Bay, WI.
Take, Lord, receive all my liberty, my memory, my understanding, my entire will. All that I have and receive come from you. To you I return them to be used wholly according to your will. Give me only your love and grace for with these I am rich enough and need nothing more.
—St. Ignatius Loyola
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