» 10/14/2012, 00.00
Difficult, but not impossible for a rich man to enter the Kingdom of God, pope says
During the Angelus, Benedict XVI refers to Jesus' call on those with possessions. Many in the history of the Church "used their wealth in an evangelical way, reaching sainthood. Let us think only about Saint Francis, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Saint Charles Borromeo." Yesterday, the "first Blessed of the Year of faith, and martyrs," are beatified in Prague. "They remind us that believing in Christ means willingness to suffer with Him and for Him."
(AsiaNews) - "It will be very difficult but not impossible for one who is rich
to enter the kingdom of God." Before the Angelus, Benedict XVI spoke about Jesus'
warning to the young man mentioned in today's Gospel. In front of 30,000 people
in St Peter's Square, he also cited the examples of those "who used their
wealth in an evangelical way, reaching sainthood. Let us think only about Saint
Francis, Saint Elizabeth of Hungary and Saint Charles Borromeo."
After the Marian
prayer, the pontiff spoke of yesterday's beatification in Prague of Frederick
Bachstein and his 13 confreres from the Order of Friars Minor. "They were
killed in 1611 because of their faith. They are the first Blessed of the Year
of faith, and martyrs. They remind us that believing in Christ means
willingness to suffer with Him and for Him."
"We do not fear,"
he added in his greetings in French, "to live and proclaim our faith in God. Even
today, living for God forces us to make choices. Sometimes, they are hard, but
we know that God accompanies us and helps us do good because his grace always
(Mk, 10:17-30)," the pope said before
the Angelus, "is centred on wealth. Jesus teaches that it will be very
difficult but not impossible for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. In
fact, God can gain the heart of a person with many possessions and push him
towards solidarity and sharing with those in need and the poor, so that he can
enter the logic of giving. This way, he can get on the path of Jesus Christ
who, as the Apostle Paul wrote, 'for your sake [. . .] became poor although he
was rich, so that by his poverty you might become rich' (2 Cor, 8:9)."
"As is often the
case in the Gospels, everything began with an encounter, the one between Jesus
and the man who 'had many possessions' (Mk,
10:22). The latter had observed all the commandments in God's Law since his
youth, but had not found true happiness. For this reason, he asked Jesus 'what
must I do to inherit eternal life?' (see 17). On the one hand, he was
attracted, like everyone else, to the fullness of life; on the other hand,
being used to his wealth, he thought he might somehow 'buy" eternal life,
perhaps observing some special commandment. Jesus was aware of the man's deep desire,
wrote the Evangelist, and looked at him full of love, as God did (see 21). However,
Jesus understood the man's weakness, his attachment to his many possessions. For
this reason, he suggested he give everything to the poor so that his treasure
and his heart be in heaven and not on earth. '[C]ome, follow me!' (see 21) he
told him. However, instead of welcoming Jesus' invitation with joy, he went
away sad (see 22) because he could not give up his possessions, which could
never give him happiness and eternal life."
"At this point,
Jesus gave the disciples, and us today, his teaching: 'How hard it is for those
who have wealth to enter the kingdom of God' (see 23). The disciples were amazed at his words, even more so when
Jesus added, '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.' Seeing their
astonishment, he said, 'For human beings it is impossible, but not for God. All
things are possible for God' (see 24-27)."
Saint Clement of Alexandria, "first let the point of the parable, which is
evident, and the reason why it is spoken, be presented. Let it teach the
prosperous that they are not to neglect their own salvation, as if they had
been already fore-doomed, nor, on the other hand, to cast wealth into the sea,
or condemn it as a traitor and an enemy to life, but learn in what way and how to
use wealth and obtain life (The Salvation
of the Rich, 27, 1-2)."
In his greetings
in English, the Holy Father said, "may we [. . .] have the courage to ask the
Lord what more can we do, especially for the poor, the lonely, the sick and the
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