Hello. This is Gabriel Alonso. Today's Gospel takes us to Matthew, chapter 19 and verse 16 onwards. In most of our versions, we find the title of this passage: “The rich young man and Jesus. Jesus, in front of this man who asks him questions. In fact, he begins by asking, "Master, what good must I do to have life with God forever?" »
Read with me this dialogue which will follow the interrogation of this young man:
“Jesus answers him: Why do you ask me about what is good? Only one is good, that's God. If you want to enter life with God, obey the commandments. The man said to him: What commandments? Jesus answers: Do not kill anyone, do not commit adultery, do not steal, do not testify falsely against anyone, respect your father and your mother, love your neighbor as yourself.
The young man said to him: I have obeyed all that, what else should I do? Jesus said to him: If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give the money to the poor. Then you will have riches with God. Then come and follow me. But when the young man hears this, he goes away very sad because he has a lot of things.
Jesus said to his disciples: I tell you this again: can a camel pass easily through the eye of a needle? Well for a rich man, it's even more difficult to enter the kingdom of God. When the disciples hear this, they are very surprised and they say: But then who can be saved? Jesus looks at them and says to them: For men it is impossible, but for God everything is possible. »
The Lord therefore underlines the danger of riches! But be careful of one thing: Jesus did not say that it is impossible for the rich to find salvation.
In Luke 19.9, it is about Zacchaeus, the richest man in Jericho, who will find salvation by accepting the Lord's invitation.
In Matthew 27.57 we find the story of Joseph of Arimathea who is described in the text as a man being rich, he too finds salvation. The rich are not excluded. Being rich is not a sin. Jesus is simply pointing out the dangers of riches, in any case, three distinct dangers.
The first: wealth encourages a false independence, the feeling of being able to face any eventuality in life and of being able to get out of any situation and any obstacle. These feelings can lead to a certain arrogance. Arrogance that the Lord does not fail to underline when he warns the Church of Laodicea in Revelation 3.17 and reproves it by saying this: "You say: I am rich, I have earned a lot of money, I do not I need nothing. But in fact, you are unhappy, you deserve pity, you are poor, blind and naked, and you don't even know that. So one of the dangers of riches is to think that you ultimately don't need God.
The second danger: riches chain man to this world. Moreover, Jesus tells us in Matthew 6.21:XNUMX: “Yes, where you put your riches, there you will also put your heart. You may be more familiar with the version that says, "Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." The rich man might find it difficult to think about the future world because he is so attached to his riches in this world. That man will have a hard time dying, in fact, forgetting that visible things are temporary while invisible things are eternal.
And finally thirdly: wealth makes man selfish. He has a lot of wealth but he wants more and is never completely satisfied. He always wants more and becomes miserly; rather than giving to others, he keeps everything for himself, forgetting the cardinal rule of the Gospel: You lose what you keep and you gain what you give!
Jesus is not against wealth, but he warns the man who thinks that he does not need God because he is rich and because he can solve all the problems of his life; while the poor man has nowhere to go and throws himself into the arms of the Lord.
The disciples, who no doubt find that the bar is very high, say to Jesus: “But then who can be saved? For men, it is impossible, but for God everything is possible,” replies Jesus. For the one who recognizes that he no longer has anything of himself, that he is a sinner, that although rich, he cannot buy salvation, to this one, rich or poor for that matter, he offers gratuitously salvation, the grace of God, the sacrifice of Jesus who paid the price demanded by the law of the Father.
This grace and sacrifice stirs the hearts of those who come to him confessing their need of the Saviour. Perhaps, like Nicodemus, you come to him in the night, in the night of your confusion. Confused perhaps by all you have heard, confused by all your failed attempts to earn his grace, perhaps even by your dreams of wealth that have taken you away from him and away from others.
Maybe you're that rich man and you need to not get caught in the trap that wealth puts in your way. If you have a lot, let the Lord show you what he expects of you. Let the Lord direct your heart in the direction of those who have nothing.
Maybe you don't have much. We are struck today by a fragile economy. Some people have to choose between heating or eating, some young women raise their children alone. The Lord knows your needs and the Lord wants some of us to be the answer to the prayers of those who are suffering.
May these words of Jesus touch your heart. Whatever your economic situation, whether you are rich or poor, he is your portion today, he is the answer you need. He is the one who takes care of you and yours.
Lord, give us to be what you want us to be: generous, full of compassion, and above all listening to you, today and in the days to come. Help me to be the answer to my neighbor's prayer. Open my eyes and make me attentive to the needs of the other. I put all my trust in you and not in my riches, whatever they may be.