St Bernard, Abbot and doctor
20th Week in Ordinary Time: Tuesday 20th August 2019
Jdg. 6:11-24; Ps. 85(84):9,11-12,13-14;
“It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Some people have felt that Jesus is talking nonsense. There is no way that a camel could pass through the eye of a needle. So they tried to come up with what seemed to them to be a reasonable explanation, for example that “the eye of a needle” was an extremely narrow gate set in the walls of Jerusalem. One that it was almost impossible for a camel to pass through!” Ingenious, perhaps. But totally unnecessary.
Jesus has simply used an expression for something impossible to emphasize in a memorable way the difficulties facing those who place all their hope of happiness, even eternal happiness, in material possessions.
Jesus does not say it is impossible for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God, but it is extremely difficult, even well nigh impossible.
So be extremely prudent in matters relating to eternal salvation. Jesus has, on other occasions, used exaggerated expressions to get his point across and ensure that his message was heard and to urge us not to be presumptuous.
Father in Heaven, grant us the wisdom not to take salvation for granted but to listen carefully to Jesus’ teaching and to live accordingly.