Aug 20 (Mt 19:23-30)

A distinguished man was lying on his death-bed.

As he lay, some of his precious ornaments, priceless stones and his fine collection of exquisite watches were brought to him.

Turning a cold glance on the treasure, which he would once have clutched with an eager grasp…

… he said with a sigh:

“Alas! this is a very fine thing in this country…

… but I am going to a country where it will be of no use to me!”

The man, at his death-bed realized the worthlessness of clinging on to riches and wealth!

If only, he had realized it, when he had years to live…

… life would have been much peaceful and contented

… life would have been better utilized to prepare for eternal life

Well…

… all of us, do have time to realize – the worthlessness of clinging on to riches and wealthy..

Do we seek to make Christ as the greatest possession and treasure of our lives?

>> Do we mend our lives accordingly, and live in pursuit of heaven?

Jesus, in the Gospel of the Day gives a triple perspective on the aspect of riches (Mt 19:23-30).

1. The difficulties that attachments to riches pose, in entering the Kingdom of God

2. The power of God that alone can assist and help one to attain eternity

3. The promise of reward to those who live a life of detachment

1. The difficulties that attachments to riches pose in entering the Kingdom of God

Jesus says, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven” (Mt 19: 23)

The reason why riches are given such a strong reprimand by the Lord is because:

>> Attachment to riches can easily take away one’s heart from the Lord…

… The Lord, Who stripped Himself of all glory and became poor is often given less priority!

>> Being obsessed with riches leaves us with little time and thought for things of eternity

… Our plannings, aspirations and projects often end up being only earthly in nature!

>> Having too many riches can pose a danger to feel proud and independent

… A sense of “I can manage all by myself” creeps in; in the process, keeping aside God from our lives!

Venerable Bishop Fulton Sheen says:

“It is ever true that the richer the soul is on the inside, the less need it has of luxuries on the outside;

Excessive adornments and an inordinate love of comforts are proof of our inner nakedness!”

2. The power of God that alone can assist and help one to attain eternity

On hearing of the difficulty of the rich to enter the Kingdom of God, the disciples asked Jesus, “Who then can be saved?” (Mt 19:25)

>> Jesus replied, “For human beings, this is impossible; but for God all things are possible” (Mt 19: 26)

The demands of Christianity to live a life of detachment from riches, can sometimes cause undue anxieties.

>> And we begin to ask…

… Is it really possible for us to live as Jesus expected of us?

… Is it not beyond my capabilities to achieve what the Lord wishes of us?

Such kind of anxieties and worries, can often cause weariness our soul!

St Francis de Sales says:

“Anxiety is the greatest evil that can befall a soul, except sin!

Have patience with all things, but first of all with yourself!”

The Lord tells us that even in our efforts to be detached…

… we need to depend on Him

… we need to know that His Grace will take us through

Therefore, to have detachment…

… we ought to come to the Lord in prayer, surrendering our lives

… we need to thank the Lord continually for all His blessings, acknowledging Him as the source

… we need to reach out to the Lord in the poor, the weak and the needy (Mt 25:40)

3. The promise of reward to those who live a life of detachment

Jesus says: “Everyone who has given up”…will receive a hundred times more and will inherit eternal life” (Mt 19:29)

A question of despair or hopelessness sometimes nags a Christian…

… What is the use of living an honest and virtuous life?

… Why is my life unrewarded, whereas many others thrive even by unjust means?

The Lord however, gives an answer…

… that none of such sacrifices will go unrewarded

He does promise His rewards – temporal as well as spiritual…

… but these are to be received in accordance to the Will of God.

Many times, the Will of God, is not taken into consideration…

… when we look for rewards in having made a sacrifice.

… when we seek for answers to our prayers

… when we expect fruits for our efforts

The Lord therefore invites and challenges us…

… to purify our motives when we make sacrifices

… to align our interests to God’s Will when we work for Him

That’s why Jesus would say: “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness…and all other things shall be added unto you” (Mt 6:33)

The words of Mother Angelica, the founder of EWTN (Eternal Word Television Network) are a reminder to us:

“Have we lost sight of this world being a pilgrimage?

>> It’s a journey! You’re not home yet!

A Christian must never lose sight of this passing reality of life”

Yes, let us come to this realization about attachments to riches:

“Alas! this is a very fine thing in this country…

… but I am going to a country where it will be of no use to me!”

God bless! Live Jesus!

——————————–

Quotable-quote-a-day-with-St Francis de Sales (SFS) – “There is a wide difference between having poison and being poisoned.

All apothecaries have poisons ready for special uses, but they are not consequently poisoned…

…because the poison is only in their shop, not in themselves.

>> And so you many possess riches without being poisoned by them, so long as they are in your house or purse only, and not in your heart.

It is the Christian’s privilege to be rich in material things, and poor in attachment to them!”

——————————–

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