warning! extreme danger!
"It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle's eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God." —Matthew 19:24
Most of us are middle-class Americans and consequently are among the richest people in the world. Therefore, Jesus' words apply to us: "I assure you, only with difficulty will a rich man enter into the kingdom of God" (Mt 19:23). Although there is nothing wrong with being rich (see Sir 31:8-11), Jesus indicated that it was almost impossible (Mt 19:26) not to grow haughty from our riches (Ez 28:5). In the book of Proverbs, Agur prayed to not become rich "lest, being full," he deny the Lord, "saying, 'Who is the Lord?' " (Prv 30:8, 9) Moses warned the Israelites in their prosperity to be careful not to "become haughty of heart and unmindful of the Lord" (Dt 8:14). Hosea observed that the more prosperous the Israelites were, the more involved they became in idolatry (Hos 10:1). Money, possessions, and wealth are a "temptation and a trap" (1 Tm 6:9), which are almost impossible not to fall into.
Pope John Paul II teaches: "This super-development, which consists in an excessive availability of every kind of material goods for the benefit of certain social groups, easily makes people slaves of 'possession' and of immediate gratification" (On Social Concern, 28, emphasis his). The Pope concludes: "I therefore exhort the disciples of Christ and all Christian communities — from families to dioceses, from parishes to religious institutes — to carry out a sincere review of their lives regarding solidarity with the poor" (Mission of the Redeemer, 60). "We need to turn to a more austere way of life" (Mission of the Redeemer, 59).
Prayer: Father, may I not carelessly expose myself to exceptionally dangerous temptations.
Promise: "For God all things are possible." —Mt 19:26
Praise: The Lord raised Mary from lowly teenager to reign with Him as Queen of heaven and earth (Lk 1:52).
Rescript: †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, February 26, 2006
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