In today’s Gospel from St. Matthew, Jesus tells his disciples that “it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven.” He elaborates, telling them that “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 confused disciples respond by asking, “Who then can be saved?”, Jesus responds, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”
As I reflect on this passage, two related things stick out. First is the danger of our attachment to worldly things. This passage follows Jesus’ encounter with the rich young man, about which I’ve written and spoken before. The problem is not our money or possessions, but our attachment to them. The problem arises when we seek security in our possessions, forgetting that all we have and all we are is gift from God.
Second is the reminder that we need God’s help to overcome these attachments. On our own, we cannot enter the Kingdom of God. We are weak, fragile, easily attracted to things that distract us from discipleship. We need God’s grace – and we particularly need God’s grace to overcome our attachment to worldly things.
We are sometimes tempted to “tough it out,” thinking if we just try harder we can do it all on our own. We find it hard to admit our need for God. We need to accept that “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.”