In the Gospel, Jesus said, “It is hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
To that the disciples responded, “Who then can be saved?”
That was not a very Christian thing to say. And, it wasn’t. St. Matthew told us this story to give us a sampling of common attitudes before the coming of Jesus.
In the Old Testament it was only towards the final pages that there was any mention of an afterlife. All that was promised to good-living people in the time of Moses or David was that they would be wealthy, and that they would live to see their great-grandchildren. (They were not promised good health to go along with their long lives. They were only told that they would somehow go struggling along till they got to hold their grandchildren’s babies. Then it would be kerplunk, Amen, Amen.)
People in Old Testament times saw wealth and health as signs of favor with God. They saw poverty and ill health as signs of sinfulness and disfavor with God.
When Jesus and his disciples came on a man who was born blind. The disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents that he should be born blind?”
This year we have all been happy about our new Pope. He has taken the name of Francis, promising to be a model of a Christ-like love and respect for the poor.
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