Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Book of Judges 6:11-24a, Psalm 85:9, 11-12, 13-14, & Matthew 19:23-30
When we listen to Jesus in today's Gospel narrative, do we perceive that He is against wealth? I don't think so. We know through scripture accounts that our Lord was not opposed to resources or prosperous people. He had many friends we might call well-to-do. His good friend Lazarus, tax collectors He often dined with, and many other people who helped support His public ministry.
I gather our Lord is teaching us that we should live the "evangelical counsel" of poverty. We should have detachment from material things and attachment to Christ. There are three types of evangelical poverty:
Material Poverty: Jesus uses strong words to warn us of our attraction to anything material. Big or little—no matter what the scope of the attachment, it must be minimal. Minimalism would be difficult for many, but material poverty can be a first step toward evangelical poverty on our path to holiness.
Poverty of Mind: The apostles "were greatly astonished" and said, "Who then can be saved?" Jesus is telling us not to be astonished when we discover that His ways are not our ways. Many refuse to be subjected in our modern society and instead lead by their way of feeling, thinking, and counsel, which is the primary cause of so many personal failures in matters of moral integrity. Many think what is good and true is really evil and corrupt.
Poverty of Heart: Many ask, "What's in it for me?" How many sacrifices we make for Christ are nullified by our self-seeking and self-gratification? We may have detached ourselves from the luxury of material possessions, but we remain attached to the praise we receive for having done so. Therefore, we know we are working for God's glory when we are willing to do so without expecting any reward.
Friends, I believe we now have a better understanding of the difficulty of entering the Kingdom of God more than for a "camel passing through the eye of a needle." Material wealth will shackle us to this earth unless we guard our hearts and minds and set our treasure in God and His everlasting kingdom.
Question of the Day: Do you experience peace in your heart by how you live your call to evangelical poverty?
Prayer: "Jesus Christ became poor although He was rich so that by His poverty you might become rich."