Gospel: Mt 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly I say to you: it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven. Yes, believe me: it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of the needle than for the one who is rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
On hearing this, the disciples were astonished and said, “Who, then, can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and answered, “For human beings it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter spoke up and said, “You see, we have given up everything to follow you. What, then, will there be for us?”
Jesus answered, “You, who have followed me, listen to my words: on the Day of Renewal, when the Son of Man sits on his throne in glory, you, also, will sit, on twelve thrones, to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. As for those who have left houses, brothers, sisters, father, mother, children or property for my Name’s sake, they will receive a hundredfold, and be given eternal life. Many who are now first, will be last, and many who are now last, will be first.
Today’s Gospel continues Jesus’ warning about the dangers of money or material wealth. A few years back I had the opportunity to stay at the Domus Galileae of the Neo-Catechumenal Way. The building itself may be considered one piece of art, an obra maestra of Kiko Arguello, one of the founders of The Way. One of the things that caught my attention was a disproportionate tower which stood at the center of a stairway that would lead you down to the so-called Plain of the Beatitudes which, I was told, is symbolic of the Kingdom of God. The tower was quite tall but its door is quite narrow and too low that one has to literally crouch in order to go through it. Only those with slimmer bodies can pass through the narrow door. I found out that the tower’s asymmetry was actually deliberate. It is meant to artistically illustrate Jesus’ teaching that we cannot enter the Kingdom of God unless we really detach ourselves from our earthly “idols” like money, wealth, power and fame. God must truly become our only treasure on which our lives are centered. The low door is meant to remind us that the gate of heaven or the kingdom of God is open only to the humble, to those who are capable of self-emptying, of making themselves small, of forgetting themselves so that they can serve the needs of others. The gate or door of heaven is quite low that only those with a servant heart and mind may enter it.