Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Today, in Mercy, our readings are full of “either – or” talk, opposing categories that render us either blessed or damned:
- rich or poor
- death or life
- first or last
The distance between these contrasts appears to be measured in possessions and power:
- Ezekiel pronounces God’s Word to the Prince of Tyre: “ … your heart has grown haughty from your riches…”
- The responsorial from Deuteronomy cautions: “It is I – not you- Who give life and deal death.”
- And the Gospel advises, “Anyone who has given up (possessions) for My sake … will inherit eternal life.”
For centuries, Christians have struggled with these concepts. It is counterintuitive to want to divest of one’s “riches”. Yet Jesus is telling us that it is almost impossible not to be coöpted by our possessions – not to have our spirits so distracted by their acquisition and retention that they displace God as the center of our lives. Jesus says is like a camel trying to pass through a needle’s eye.
Ezekiel suggests that to believe we possess anything is an illusion. Everything can be taken from us in an instant. Jesus says the illusion will be flipped in the Kingdom of Heaven where the “first”and “last” will switch places.
These are radical concepts that each Christian must absorb into her own life through prayer and service in order to find grace for her own circumstances. Life is not “either/or” for most of us. There is a lot of grey where we constantly weigh what God would want of us.
Through prayer and service, we can invite God to patiently change our perception of where true riches lie. The degree of change will determine whether we possess our “riches”, or they possess us.
Music: Only Jesus – Casting Crowns