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  #1  
Old Oct 14, '12, 7:30 am
sainthumbert sainthumbert is offline
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Default Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

The Gospel reading today from Mark 10:

20*“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21*Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22*At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23*Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24*The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25*It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26*The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27*Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

We know that certain wealthy individuals have been declared saints. This does not invalidate a literal reading of Jesus' words. Jesus said it is very hard for the rich to enter heaven, not impossible. A priest told me that the eye of a needle was the hole in a town gate where a camel could be pushed through at night when the gates were closed. It seems to me that a literal interpretation is appropriate here. My recollection from reading Saint Augustine's sermons was that he felt that the rich, simply by being rich, were at a disadvantage to the poor in the pursuit of heaven (though my recollections could be inaccurate). Does anyone know of a good interpretation of this passage from a Church father?
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  #2  
Old Oct 14, '12, 8:43 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Our priest laughed at all the interpretations of this passage he's heard...He said Jesus was being very literal here because the disciples had just seen an illustration in real life, of how hard it is to leave riches behind and have your priorities straight. I've seen some of those interpretations and they make me laugh. Many times, it's the "prosperity gospel" preachers who twist themselves into knots so they don't offend their big donors - also since they are preaching that God wants people to get rich, they can't tell the truth about that passage or they cut down their own reason for existence.
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  #3  
Old Oct 14, '12, 9:40 am
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stewstew03 stewstew03 is offline
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Post Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Quote:
Originally Posted by sainthumbert View Post
The Gospel reading today from Mark 10:

20*“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21*Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22*At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23*Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24*The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25*It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26*The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27*Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

We know that certain wealthy individuals have been declared saints. This does not invalidate a literal reading of Jesus' words. Jesus said it is very hard for the rich to enter heaven, not impossible. A priest told me that the eye of a needle was the hole in a town gate where a camel could be pushed through at night when the gates were closed. It seems to me that a literal interpretation is appropriate here. My recollection from reading Saint Augustine's sermons was that he felt that the rich, simply by being rich, were at a disadvantage to the poor in the pursuit of heaven (though my recollections could be inaccurate). Does anyone know of a good interpretation of this passage from a Church father?
St Augustine also warned the poor not to boast, or "the humble rich man will surpass him." [paraphrasing]
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  #4  
Old Oct 14, '12, 10:14 am
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Michael Mayo Michael Mayo is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

So maybe taxing the rich more is a spiritual help.
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yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you.
I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”.
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  #5  
Old Oct 14, '12, 10:38 am
jwinch2 jwinch2 is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

The simple answer is to look to Church doctrine on wealth which can be found in both the Catechism and in greater detail in the Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church. The Church teaches that wealth is to be viewed as a blessing from God and as such, people who are wealthy have a responsibility to use that wealth wisely and for the greater good. The passage has traditionally been interpreted that it is not the accumulation of wealth which is bad (providing it has been done in a moral manner), it is the choosing of money over God which is the problem. One cannot serve both God and mammon.

From the Compendium:
Quote:
On the other hand, economic goods and riches are not in themselves condemned so much as their misuse. The prophetic tradition condemns fraud, usury, exploitation and gross injustice, especially when directed against the poor (cf. Is 58:3-11; Jer 7:4-7; Hos 4:1-2; Am 2:6-7; Mic 2:1-2).

“How could we ever do good to our neighbor,” asks St. Clement of Alexandria, “if none of us possessed anything?”.[686] In the perspective of St. John Chrysostom, riches belong to some people so that they can gain merit by sharing them with others.[687] Wealth is a good that comes from God and is to be used by its owner and made to circulate so that even the needy may enjoy it. Evil is seen in the immoderate attachment to riches and the desire to hoard.

Peace,
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  #6  
Old Oct 14, '12, 10:41 am
bogeydogg bogeydogg is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Quote:
Originally Posted by sainthumbert View Post
The Gospel reading today from Mark 10:

20*“Teacher,” he declared, “all these I have kept since I was a boy.”
21*Jesus looked at him and loved him. “One thing you lack,” he said. “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.”
22*At this the man’s face fell. He went away sad, because he had great wealth.
23*Jesus looked around and said to his disciples, “How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God!”
24*The disciples were amazed at his words. But Jesus said again, “Children, how hard it is[e] to enter the kingdom of God! 25*It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”
26*The disciples were even more amazed, and said to each other, “Who then can be saved?”
27*Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”

We know that certain wealthy individuals have been declared saints. This does not invalidate a literal reading of Jesus' words. Jesus said it is very hard for the rich to enter heaven, not impossible. A priest told me that the eye of a needle was the hole in a town gate where a camel could be pushed through at night when the gates were closed. It seems to me that a literal interpretation is appropriate here. My recollection from reading Saint Augustine's sermons was that he felt that the rich, simply by being rich, were at a disadvantage to the poor in the pursuit of heaven (though my recollections could be inaccurate). Does anyone know of a good interpretation of this passage from a Church father?
Of course Jesus is being literal because the disciples assume the man is blessed because he is...

A. A ruler of the Jews

B. Rich

Then as now material and social success was equated with blessedness. An assumption btw not necessarily out of place but certainly called into question by Jesus.

We know the Lord is being literal because the response of the disciples is, "Who then can be saved!" Seeing his depart the disciple despair having presumed his blessedness based upon his standing in society. The same error was made by Samuel with King Saul and in the anointing of King David.

It is easy for us to look on the outside and circumstances of men and assume they are righteous (this is the error of Plato and Aristotle) but Christ tells us the only sure means of blessedness is being in Him by baptism, penitence and the Table. This assuredness is based solely of Christ's work on our behalf and stands apart from us. Therefore a man who humbly depends upon Christ may be saved no matter if he is Jew or Gentile, rich or poor, scholar or commoner. St Paul makes this very clear.

God Bless
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  #7  
Old Oct 14, '12, 11:26 am
poptown poptown is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

One day at my Parish, Priest addresses this reading in a homily ...

Priest: "Did Jesus want us to give up all possessions? Look, I have a great CD collection ... "

Some people laughed.

Priest: "I have an iPhone."

More people laughed.

Priest: "I have an iPhone 5."

All laughed ...
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  #8  
Old Oct 14, '12, 11:38 am
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post
So maybe taxing the rich more is a spiritual help.
No, that's coercion. Jesus wants us to GIVE, not have our goods TAKEN from us by force.
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  #9  
Old Oct 14, '12, 2:17 pm
CalCatholic CalCatholic is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

What is the gospel's definition of rich? If we have clean running water, three meals a day, electricity, a roof to cover our heads and protect us from the elements, flushing toilets, a TV, computer, cell phone, and maybe even a car! We are richer than hundreds of millions of other impoverished people living on this planet. So by Jesus standards we may be those very rich people that we are reading about, something to think about.
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  #10  
Old Oct 14, '12, 2:32 pm
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pnewton pnewton is online now
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Quote:
Originally Posted by poptown View Post
One day at my Parish, Priest addresses this reading in a homily ...

Priest: "Did Jesus want us to give up all possessions? Look, I have a great CD collection ... "

Some people laughed.

Priest: "I have an iPhone."

More people laughed.

Priest: "I have an iPhone 5."

All laughed ...
Camel through the eye of a needle? There's an app for that.
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Nooo!! I didn't mean it!
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  #11  
Old Oct 14, '12, 5:13 pm
babs57 babs57 is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Our priest took the "Where your treasure is, there your heart is also" approach. His meaning was that it's not so much how much you have as whether or not your posessions take priority in your life. He gave the example of someone who hated to go on vacation because he was afraid someone would rob him or his house would burn down while he was gone. So he was always thinking about his house when he was away, instead of enjoying the peace that a vacation should bring, or the company of who he was with.

So, we need to be able to let go of everything to be able to truly be in His presence, and not let our posessions rule our life.
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  #12  
Old Oct 14, '12, 7:30 pm
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Michael Mayo Michael Mayo is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheRealJuliane View Post
No, that's coercion. Jesus wants us to GIVE, not have our goods TAKEN from us by force.
If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.
Luke 6:29
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“Lord, I have let myself be deceived; in a thousand ways I have shunned your love,
yet here I am once more, to renew my covenant with you.
I need you. Save me once again, Lord, take me once more into your redeeming embrace”.
- Pope Francis

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  #13  
Old Oct 14, '12, 8:14 pm
TheRealJuliane TheRealJuliane is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Mayo View Post
If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic.
Luke 6:29
He didn't mean the government.

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  #14  
Old Oct 15, '12, 6:48 pm
Oldtimer_7 Oldtimer_7 is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Another point is to concentrate on the word "do." The rich man is used to doing things to make himself right with God. Sin offerings, alms, and such actions. Jesus gives an answer that the man will not understand, because he thinks he can buy himself salvation. This connects the idea of the camel and the needle with v.27, which then is the conclusion to the discussion.
27*Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
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  #15  
Old Oct 15, '12, 7:07 pm
jwinch2 jwinch2 is offline
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Default Re: Hard for Rich to Enter Kingdom of God

Quote:
Originally Posted by Oldtimer_7 View Post
Another point is to concentrate on the word "do." The rich man is used to doing things to make himself right with God. Sin offerings, alms, and such actions. Jesus gives an answer that the man will not understand, because he thinks he can buy himself salvation. This connects the idea of the camel and the needle with v.27, which then is the conclusion to the discussion.
27*Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible with God.”
Very good point.

In the readings for last Sunday, we also see how God can see into the hearts of man. Our pastor tied that into the Gospel to make the case that the Lord saw into the rich man's heart and saw his attachment to his wealth which was preventing him from serving God fully. In the case of another rich man who was less attached to his possessions, Christ might have given different advice. Its obviously hard to know for sure as individuals which is why we have a Church to provide interpretation for us.
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