Then Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. Again I tell you, 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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, “Then who can be saved?”
But Jesus looked at them and said, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said in reply, “Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?” Jesus said to them, “Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved http://www.usccb.org/bible/approved-translations
Today’s gospel follows right after the story of the rich young man who went away sad when Jesus told him to sell what he had and give it to the poor, and then come and follow me.
For almost forty years, until he died, I had a wealthy friend. This man was a renowned orthopedic surgeon in Boston. He used to ask me: “Why is Jesus so hard on wealthy people? I’m a good husband and father. I am generous to my Jesuit alma mater, and I am on the Cardinal’s ‘Hit List’ of wealthy donors. I use my wealth responsibly.”
It took many conversations, but one day we clicked on what Ignatius says in the Spiritual Exercises [#136-148]. In the meditation on the Two Standards/Strategies: Satan seduces people from riches to power to pride, whereas Jesus urges poverty to powerlessness to humility. He rejoiced at this and said: “So, Jesus really loves me, and he is hard on the wealthy, because he is worried for them.” Yes!
Where is Jesus inviting me today? And how do I respond?
—Fr. Robert Braunreuther, S.J. of the New England province serves in University Ministry at Loyola University Chicago, where he is also the minister at the Arrupe House Jesuit community.
Lord, when people get close to dying, it is then easy to focus on what really matters. As the patriot Patrick Henry prepared for his death, he wrote: “I have now disposed of all my property to my family. There is one thing more I wish I could give them and that is faith in Jesus Christ. If they had that and I had not given them a single shilling, they would have been rich; and if they had not that, and I had given them all the world, they would be poor indeed.”
Lord, let us be your presence this day. Give us the wisdom and the grace to discern what we need to surrender to you. Grant us the courage to trust in you and to look forward to the details of this day with renewed hope.
—The Jesuit Prayer Team