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Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

Ez. 28:1-10 & Mt. 19:23-30

The greatest sin is to try to make yourself God. This is what the ruler of Tyre did. He did not worship the Creator of Heaven and Earth - but himself! Having amassed piles of gold and silver he felt completely independent and did not need God. Ezekiel courageously condemned this powerful but foolish man in unmitigated terms.

In our own times we have seen many examples of such pride and foolishness. People have lived their lives without God, centred around their wealth and a false sense of security. But Jesus does not want us to fall into the trap of false independence which leads to self-worship.

He warns us in today’s Gospel that wealth and power can make a person self-sufficient and lead them to deify themselves. When they feel that all their wants are satisfied by their possessions they think that they do not need God. That is why Jesus said, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” Jesus does not condemn wealth; He says that a life dedicated to nothing but amassing money is futile. A person who lives like that cannot enter Heaven. On the other hand, a wealthy person who loves and serves God, and uses his wealth generously, may well be welcomed there.

Peter wondered what would happen to him and his companions. They had given up their jobs, families and all their possessions in order to follow Jesus. Jesus assured them that God is never outdone in generosity. He repays a hundred times over those who give up everything to serve Him, and promises them a place in His kingdom.

What about the ordinary person who earns a living in this world? Bills have to be paid and families have to be fed, but if they make money their only concern they are very far from the kingdom of Heaven. If we trust in our own efforts alone we make ourselves a god.

Lord Jesus, if we remember to put God first in our lives and is the One who will provide for us, we need have no fear. He will reward our trust both in this life and in the next.

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