- Category: brdaniel
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- Written by Br. Daniel Thomas, OP
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Tuesday in the Twentieth Week of the Church Year.
Saint for the day: St. Pius X (1835-1914)
Psalm Response: Deuteronomy 32:26 ff
“Will I be able to fit through the narrow gate into the Kingdom?”
In these days we’re hearing scripture readings that present us with a lot of paradoxes: “those who eat my flesh and drink my blood will never die!” And today we are told how hard it will be for the rich to enter into the Kingdom. “It will be easier for a camel to get through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom!”
I’ve already spoken about the “… will never die” paradox and that we have to come to a better understanding of what that really means. Does it mean that we will be like the Every-ready Bunny … just going on and on forever? So, obviously, the “forever” that Jesus talks about is not confined to this dimension of life, as we know it.
In the same way, this apparent bias toward riches has to be understood on a much deeper level than first appears.
In yesterday’s Gospel the rich, young man went away sad because he didn’t think he could free himself from his riches. If we all took Jesus at his literal word we’d all be sitting naked out there on the edge of the cliff waiting for the Second Coming. I don’t think that I have to say anything more about that!
I entered the Dominican Order and took my vows, which include a vow of poverty. In all my 50+ years as a Dominican I have had the privilege of experiencing a semester in Israel, a worldwide ministry of workshops in Liturgy and Art; travel all over the world. I have been able to do vastly more than my siblings who haven’t taken a vow of poverty but in some ways actually live it.
So, what’s our bottom line in this area of “riches.”
I think it has to do with our attitude about our possessions. In yesterday’s Gospel the rich, young man went away sad. Why? Maybe it was that he didn’t think he could follow Jesus without all the “things” that he possessed.
Yet we are told, if we give up these treasures we’ll have treasures in Heaven. Maybe, the sad fact is that many of us want to “hedge our bets” just in case Jesus’ words don’t come true!
They tell the story of the man who fell off a high cliff and in the timeless extension of his falling he cried out to God: “Help me!” And suddenly he was able to grab on to a large branch jetting out from the cliff. Then, hanging there at the edge of the abyss he again cried out to God: “Now what do I do?” God’s answer might give us a better insight into these day’s Scripture readings. God said: “Let go the branch!”
That’s all I’ll say. Amen!
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