Today’s Gospel passage follows Jesus’ encounter with the Rich Young Man, who went away sad because he wasn’t willing to give up his material wealth for the eternal riches that Jesus offered. Jesus then further instructs his disciples, using the analogy of a camel passing through a needle to illustrate how difficult it is for one with material riches to enter the kingdom of God.
In fact, it is impossible for us on our own merit. Despite our best efforts, we cannot overcome evil and sin on our own. We cannot overcome sin by mere obedience to God’s commandments. If we cannot give up our desires for worldly riches, our hearts cannot be fully surrendered to the love and riches God offers us. The kingdom of God is not about an abundance of worldly riches. Rather, the kingdom of God is about love and sacrifice. Given our human nature and our propensity to sin, we need help to enter and live in the kingdom of God. But Jesus delivers good news, “... All things are possible for God.” (Mk. 10:27)
In this context, Peter speaks for all true disciples when he says to Jesus, “We have given up everything and followed you.” Jesus responds by assuring Peter that those who give up everything to put the will of God above everything else in their life will receive back a hundred times more in the eternal life to come.
Today’s Gospel gives us the path to achieve the true happiness we all desire. Put the will of God first in our life. Follow Him, not our own worldly desires. Only Jesus, the Son of God, could show us this path to eternal happiness. Jesus sacrificed His life for us. We are called to sacrifice our life for others. That is the path that follows Jesus. That is the path of discipleship. That is the path to eternal happiness.
Jesus concludes this passage by saying, “But many that are first will be last, and [the] last will be first.” Are we willing to put ourselves last? It starts with our relationship with Jesus. In this relationship of two people, can we make Jesus first and ourselves last? Can we live putting His Will first and our desires last? But our life isn’t a private relationship just between us and Jesus. How do we put His Will first in our life? Jesus wants us to love Him andour neighbor. Can we put the needs of our neighbors first, and our needs last, for the sake of Jesus?
Jesus is asking us to trust in Him. He promises us eternal rewards that far surpass any material pleasures we can experience in this life. Let us join our lives to the words of Peter. When our time comes to pass over to eternal life, may our lives be able to say to the Lord, “We have given up everything and followed you.”
Today’s Question for Prayer and Reflection
How will you use the time, talents, and treasure you have been given in this life?