Camel through the eye of a needle

by FLL Editorial Team


瑪竇福音 19:23-30


福音所指的「富裕」是什麼意思?這是指一個人擁有大量財產,而他身邊的人卻連基本需要也未能滿足。在這樣的情形下,我怎能繼續握著「我的」財產不放呢?如果天國是一個仁愛和公義的國度,我又怎能稱自己是天國的一分子呢?福音中所指的富裕是拒絕跟貧窮的人分享,這樣的態度與天國所要求的格格不入。耶穌說的話跟當時猶太人的理解很不同,他們認為財富是天主對於義人的一種賞報,如今竟然變成進入天國的阻礙,這真是很難接受的事。耶穌很明白大家的憂慮,因此祂安慰他們,天主自會施恩寵幫助人得救:「為天主,一切都是可能的。」財富本身不是邪惡的,但「因為你的財寶在那裡,你的心也必在那裡」(瑪竇福音 6:21)如果我們富有,我們要謹記耶穌的話,按聖神的旨意,把擁有的跟其他人分施。


Tuesday of week 20 of Ordinary Time – Gospel

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. 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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” 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. 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. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”

Matthew 19:23-30

In today's Gospel, Jesus continues to talk about the effects of wealth on one's salvation. Jesus uses an imagery to make His point: "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." Even if we are not rich ourselves, we would still admire people who become wealthy by their own hard work. His words may make us feel a bit uncomfortable. What is wrong with having lots of money earned by one's own sweat and labour?

What does the Gospel mean by being rich? To be rich here means to have a large surplus of money and possessions while around one are people who do not have what they need to live a life of dignity. How can I continue to hold on to “my” possessions when such a situation prevails? How can I claim to belong to the kingdom, the reign of God, which is a kingdom of love and justice? To be rich in the Gospel means refusing to share what you have with those who have not. As long as you behave like that, you cannot be eligible for the Kingdom. There is a radical incompatibility. To the Jews at Jesus' time, wealth was a sign of God's blessings. But now, they are told wealth becomes an obstacle for one's own salvation. This is very difficult to accept. Jesus understands our anxieties, and so He consoles the disciples and said: "for God all things are possible." Wealth itself is not evil, but "For where your treasure is, there also will your heart be." (Matthew 6:21) If we are wealthy, let us remember Jesus' words to use our wealth according to the will of the Holy Spirit.

After listening to Jesus' words, Peter raised a question, for those who forsake everything in order to follow Jesus, what would be there for them? Jesus asked His followers not to worry. Not only will they "inherit eternal life", but also "receive a hundred times more". God never mistreats people. For those who answer His call, they would not lose anything, instead they would be more blessed, for God always wills the good of His people.

Tuesday of week 20 of Ordinary Time – Gospel