18 Now a certain ruler asked Him, saying, “Good Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
19 So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One,that is, God. 20 You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery,’ ‘Do not murder,’ ‘Do not steal,’ ‘Do not bear false witness,’ ‘Honor your father and your mother.’ ”[a]
21 And he said, “All these things I have kept from my youth.”
22 So when Jesus heard these things, He said to him, “You still lack one thing. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”
23 But when he heard this, he became very sorrowful, for he was very rich.
24 And when Jesus saw that he became very sorrowful, He said, “How hard it is for those who have riches to enter the kingdom of God! 25 For it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”
26 And those who heard it said, “Who then can be saved?”
27 But He said, “The things which are impossible with men are possible with God.”
28 Then Peter said, “See, we have left all[b] and followed You.”
29 So He said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or parents or brothers or wife or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who shall not receive many times more in this present time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
The Lord warns us today of how difficult it is for a man who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.
Does it mean that the Kingdom of God is open only to destitute, to those who are materially poor,
who lack everything on earth? No. The Kingdom of God is open to all who are not enslaved by
possessions. When we read the first Beatitude, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the
Kingdom of Heaven’, we are given a key to this saying: the poor in spirit are those who have
understood that they possess nothing which is their own. We have been created as an act of God,
loved into existence; we are offered by God communion with Him to which we have no rights. All
we are, all we possess is not our own in the sense that we have not made ourselves, we did not
create what is seemingly ours – every thing which we are and which we have is love, the love of
God and the love of people, and we cannot possess anything because everything is a gift that
escapes us the moment we want to have possession of it and say, “It is mine”.
So, let us reflect on that; poverty does not mean destitution; it means freedom from enslavement to
an illusion that we are self-sufficient, self-contained, the creator of what we are and what we
possess. And also free from enslavement to what is given us to make husbandmen of God.
Let us reflect on this; because if we learn this, if we learn what Saint Paul said that whether he is
rich, whether he is destitute, he is equally rich because his richness is in God and in human love.
Then we will be able, whether we possess material things or not, to be free of them, and to belong
to God’s Kingdom which is a Kingdom of mutual love, of mutual solidarity, of compassion for one
another, of giving to one another what we were given freely. Amen. – Fr Augustine