Getting what? Through where?

This is a gospel that has to be thought about for a little while. A lot of times I will read the daily Gospel, go for a hike, and come back with my reactions sorted out. This one was a two hike Gospel.
It begins with a challenge, offers some perspective and ends with a promise.

The challenge is simple, “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven.” And just incase you were not listening he offers a really specific analogy, “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.”

Now, I have heard this explained as a translation nuance, due to the fact that the Greek word for “camel” and the Assyrian word for “thick cord” are both very similar (it is the use of an “i” instead of an “e”). Thick cord, or rope, makes sense as the two terms could both have a weaver’s context but this does not seem to be the point. He may as well have said a tractor trailer as His point was that it is difficult.

This part should not come as a surprise. It is using different words but so often in the gospel we hear, “For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it. Matt 16:25. And the assumption is that a rich man, rich in worldly possessions, would find it difficult to part with these possession when leaving this world for the next. So maybe the quote should read that it is easier for a Maserati mc20 to pass through the eye of a needle that for one that is rich to enter the Kingdom of God.

Camel, rope, truck, or car is not the point. The point is that, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Rich or poor, rope or car, all things are possible with God. If we hold on to the things of this world, then we will be held by the things of the world. If we hold on to the things of God then we will be held by, nurtured by, comforted by, embraced by the things of God.
Earlier, I said that today’s gospel begins with a challenge, offers some perspective and ends with a promise. The challenge is for us to let go of things of the world. I am assuming that the reference to the camel was a reference to a worldly possession. Perhaps 2,000 years ago people values each other by the size of their camel. Or its hump, or how far it could go on a bushel of hay. So perhaps the reference wasn’t to the person getting through the eye, it was that passage while holding on to his new camel with the chrome …. Camel bags.

The perspective is, of course, that all things are possible with God. My overcoming difficulties is possible with God. Our welcoming each other differences is possible with God. An end to hatred of those people because they are those people is possible with God.

And, finally, the promise. If I am going to consider giving up my ultra-soft, quilted top foam filled mattress I need a promise in return (by the way no one is asking you to give up your my ultra-soft, quilted top foam filled mattress, I’m just making a point). “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.”

And that is the point. We are not meant for this world. We are not meant for thick ropes or camels or trucks or fancy cars, we are meant for the kingdom of Heaven. That’s it, when all is said and done the rest is window dressing.

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.

Kind of makes you wonder why it took me two hikes to figure this it was right there from the beginning. The third line lists our purpose, our destination and our point of being, “the Kingdom of Heaven”.
All things are possible for God, no matter what is trying to get through the eye of that needle.

MT 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.”

August 16, 2022

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