The Gospel according to Matthew (19:23-30)
Jesus said to his disciples:
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich
to enter the Kingdom of heaven.
Again I say to you,
it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle
than for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.”
When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said,
“Who then can be saved?”
Jesus looked at them and said,
“For men this is impossible,
but for God all things are possible.”
Then Peter said to him in reply,
“We have given up everything and followed you.
What will there be for us?”
Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you
that you who have followed me, in the new age,
when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory,
will yourselves sit on twelve thrones,
judging the twelve tribes of Israel.
And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters
or father or mother or children or lands
for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more,
and will inherit eternal life.
But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
I don’t recall now when I first heard the story of the narrow gate in the Old City of Jerusalem that Jesus might have been talking about in today’s Gospel. In pondering on it for today’s reflection, though, all I can think of is how it can be seen as a guide to the proper attitude of prayer for any Christian.
How is that, exactly? For that gate in Jerusalem, the only way for a camel to go through would be for it to remove its burdens, and go through on its knees. What does it mean to us today? We have so much “stuff” nowadays. Our society encourages us to gather more and more “stuff”, and that somehow, that will be what matters most.
In this story, Jesus is telling us that we have to remove all those other things when we come before Him, and on our knees, offer our petitions to our loving Creator. It’s a reminder that we are the ones created by God, and that He alone is the one who has control over everything. If we have that attitude of humility before Him, asking Him to use us for His Kingdom – truly, in our hearts – then, we will be amazed at what God is able to accomplish with us.
Put another way, God wants us to have what we need. In His boundless blessing, He gives us so much more and asks that we share our excess with another. That’s what it means to be a follower of Christ, and when we live it out, God takes us through the eye of the needle and beyond, to eternal glory.
Action for the Day:
In your quiet time today, take on this humble attitude of prayer, and ask God to use you to further His kingdom. Then, be ready for what He has in mind for you!
If you would like to hear this reflection, click the link below!