Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Gospel for Tuesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time

From: Matthew 19:23-30

Christian Poverty and Renunciation

[23] Jesus said to His disciples, "Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. [24] 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." [25] When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, "Who then can be saved?" [26] But Jesus looked at them and said to them, "With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible." [27] Then Peter said in reply, "Lo, we have left everything and followed You. What then shall we have?" [28] Jesus said to them, "Truly, I say to you, in the new world, when the Son of Man shall sit on His glorious throne, you who have followed Me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. [29] And every one who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands, for My name's sake, will receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life. [30] But many that are first will be last, and the last first."

24-26. By drawing this comparison Jesus shows that it is simply not possible for people who put their hearts on worldly things to obtain a share in the Kingdom of God.

"With God all things are possible": that is, with God's grace man can be brave and generous enough to use wealth to promote the service of God and man. This is why St. Matthew, in Chapter 5, specifies that the poor "in spirit" are blessed (Matthew 5:3).

28. "In the new world", in the "regeneration": a reference to the renewal of all things which will take place when Jesus Christ comes to judge the living and the dead. The resurrection of the body will be an integral part of this renewal.

The ancient people of God, Israel, was made up of twelve tribes. The new people of God, the Church, to which all men are called, is founded by Jesus Christ on the Twelve Apostles under the primacy of Peter.

29. These graphic remarks should not be explained away. They mean that love for Jesus Christ and His Gospel should come before everything else. What our Lord says here should not be interpreted as conflicting with the will of God Himself, the creator and sanctifier of family bonds.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

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