The great English Catholic G. K. Chesterton once remarked that ever since Jesus insisted that it’s easier for a camel to squeeze through a needle’s eye than for the rich to enter the kingdom of God, we’ve been frantically trying to build bigger needles and breed smaller camels!
People of every generation have found this teaching of our Lord hard to swallow. It certainly shocked the disciples, as we just heard. And this saying can make us uncomfortable too, because so often we seek our comfort in the things of this world.
Jesus is not saying that we don’t have legitimate financial needs. We most certainly do! And he wants us to pray for them. What Jesus is saying, however, is that when our wants become needs, we cross the border into the land of idolatry, which is a dangerous and foolish thing to do. Because to love riches more than God is, as Bishop Robert Morneau has put it, to commit spiritual adultery.
And so today’s gospel challenges us to consider our priorities, to evaluate our goals, and assess how we spend our time and energy, to determine if we have de-throned almighty God as Lord of our life, and replaced him with the “almighty” dollar. Because if we wish to enter God’s kingdom, we must seek it, first of all.
(My new book of daily Advent devotions for 2014, the latest installment in The Living Gospel series by Ave Maria Press, is now available: http://www.amazon.com/Daily-Devotions-Advent-Living-Gospel/dp/1594714827/ref=tmm_pap_title_0?ie=UTF8&qid=1407612521&sr=8-2 )