“Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible” (Mt 19:25-26).
The disciples are “greatly astonished” about Jesus’ comments about how difficult it would be for the rich to enter heaven. Their astonishment came from the belief system that those who had wealth did so because they had been blessed by God for following his commandments. Just remember the rich young man’s attitude from yesterday. He had followed God’s commands and was blessed with riches, but Jesus turned his world upside down when he asked the man to give up all he had to follow him.
Jesus attempted to help the man and his disciples to understand that what we have is a gift from God, starting with our life, our very existence. He is our very sustenance and fulfillment. A problem arises when we place our security in material things instead of God who provides them for us. If our security is dependent on that which is finite, we are always going to be left unfulfilled, attached, and/or at worst addicted, and so like the rich man, unwilling to give of ourselves to those in need, because we are afraid we won’t have enough. Also, when we look to our own effort and work ethic, we can build a reliance on our self alone, we are putting our self as the supplier of our security instead of God. Pride then becomes a dangerous idol. We think and start to believe that we don’t need God because we can do well enough on our own.
The disciples question can then very easily be our own, “Who then can be saved?” If we can’t buy, earn, or achieve our way into heaven, how will we get there? Jesus is clear. For men this is impossible, because there is no means for us to get there on our own merit. But for God all things are possible. Our salvation is a free gift.
May we then be grateful for what we have been given as we recognize the source of what we have been blessed with comes from God. In this way, we can share freely from what we have, because God, who is our source, is unlimited. What is primary then is deepening our relationship with him and collaborating with him. As we do so, we will have the proper orientation to encounter one another in love.
What is essential in our life is not what we have, but that we recognize that God is the source of what we have, he will provide for us and be present with us. Time goes fast. This life we have been given is good, but it is also finite, and fragile. Let us not take each other for granted, let us make the time to love God and each other as he loves us. “Let us encourage one another while it is still today” (Hebrews 3:13).
Photo: One of the gifts from God I am most thankful for, talking walks with JoAnn and enjoying God’s creation. Visit from a Red Shoulder Hawk about a month ago on one of our walks. Think about what you are thankful to God for.
Link to the Mass Readings for Tuesday, August 21, 2018: http://www.usccb.org/bible/readings/082118.cfm