Homily for August 16th, 2016:
Jesus’ disciples are astonished, today’s gospel tells us, to hear the Master say that riches are a bar to entrance into God’s kingdom. Their religion taught them that material blessings were a sign of God’s favor. No wonder that the disciples ask: “Then who can be saved?” The figure used by Jesus of a camel passing through the eye of a needle is, the Scripture scholars tell us, a typical oriental exaggeration – something impossible even to conceive, let alone happen.
Jesus did not tell the young man with many possessions to sell everything because riches are evil. Rightly used, wealth is good. Riches become a danger for us, however, when we hang on to them too tightly B and whenever they give us a false sense of security.
Jesus summons us, as he summoned the rich young man in yesterday=s gospel, to trust in God and in him alone. For unaided human powers the demands Jesus makes on us are impossible. They are impossible, that is, for everyone except God. AFor God all things are possible,@ Jesus tells us.
When life seems too much for you; when you are weighed down by anxiety, illness, injustice, the claims of others, or the nagging sense of your own inadequacy; when God=s demands on you seem too great B whenever, in short, you come up against the impossible; then you are up against God. He is the God of the impossible. In every impossible situation, in every trial that is too hard for you to bear, his divine Son and your best friend is saying to you, with tender love:
AFor you it is impossible, but not for God; for God all things are possible.@