Perhaps to put it more bluntly, based on some of the teachings of the Bible, we may often wonder - can a rich person go to Heaven?
A lawyer, while driving on a country road, encountered a crowd in an intersection. It seemed that someone may have been struck by a car. Thinking only as a lawyer, he got out of his car and, pushing his way through the crowd; he yelled, "Let me through! I am a relative of the victim!"
The crowd made way for him to catch sight of a dead pig hit by a car.
That is how far greed for wealth can bring us.
We may be able to force our way through a crowd here on earth, but we can't force our way into heaven.
Today’s Gospel passage calls us to reflect on how wealth can hinder our getting to heaven.
Let us begin by asking, "what is the problem with wealth?"
It may not be wealth in itself that is problematic, but our relationship with it, and where it ranks in our value systems, that can lead to troubles.
In Paul’s first letter to Timothy 6:10, we read that the love of money is the root of all evil, not money itself.
Wealth is not intrinsically evil, but our attitudes towards it, the ways we get it, and the use we put it to can affect us.
When we value material things more than people, it can harm our relationships. Therefore, the possession of wealth carries the responsibility to use it wisely without being enslaved to it.
When we consider wealth the source of ultimate happiness, it can hinder grace and spiritual growth.
We should not be anxious striving to acquire and preserve more and more wealth. Money and material possessions should not crowd God out of our hearts and lives.
So then, is it impossible to be saved if you are wealthy? Jesus did not say it would be impossible. He said, “It will be difficult for the rich to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Difficult, not impossible. He wants to challenge us to renounce our overdependence on wealth and increase our dependence on God.
He wants us to grow heavenly wealth by sharing and caring. He wants us to establish valuable relationships in our families and society. He wants us to redirect our love away from material wealth toward God and one another, encouraging spiritual growth and maturity.
When we let go of our greed for wealth and let God and others into our lives, we begin our journey toward the Kingdom.
So let us ask ourselves today, “How can we better use our wealth: money, time, and talents to add to our spiritual wealth to begin or continue our journey toward heaven?