12 November 2019Matthew 19:23-26
“... 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.” (v. 24)
Psalm: Psalm 102:12-28
Today’s reading is a little disjointed as we've had to wait a day to hear Jesus’ reflection on the encounter that we read about yesterday! The disciples may have been thinking that the rich would be the first to enter heaven as they have, literally, richly received God’s blessings. There are many passages in the Hebrew scriptures that make the link between riches and blessings, see the stories of Abraham, Solomon and Job. But Jesus stands everything on its head, delivering the prophetic manifesto of his mother (in Luke’s Gospel; she is marginalised in Matthew’s account which gives priority to Joseph), where "the rich are sent empty away".
As we realise insufficiently, the gospel is for ‘the poor’, all those who suffer marginalisation, discrimination, oppression at the hands of the wealthy and exploitative, who are minorities in society or on the receiving end of the ‘hostile environment’. Jesus’ concluding remark is suitably cryptic but we can understand it as saying that all the issues here can only be addressed from a divine perspective – God is on the side of those who are poor and seeks to bring salvation (change and transformation) through radical disruption.
- What do you think Jesus is trying to convey when he says, “For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible”?
- What reflections are taking place in your church about ‘rich’ and ‘poor’?