Material things have a way of capturing the human heart and soul and calling them to live on the fringe of what is really of value. Material things can be like fly-paper. It is easy to get stuck in that dimension. In our reading today from the prophet Ezekiel, we find the prince of Tyre gloating over his wisdom applied to schemes for getting rich. He was so arrogant that he thought he was as intelligent as God. Ezekiel says that God will pick up the fly-paper with the prince attached and toss it away. Like so many people today, the prince was brain dead spiritually. We have a new atheism emerging as these one dimensional and spiritually blind people cry out to be heard.
Our gospel from St. Matthew is right in line with the teaching of Ezekiel. “Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven.”
I have known some rich people, usually “old money rich”, who are very spiritual Christians. Their riches do not stick to them. Their hearts are quite detached from material things. They try to be good and generous stewards of what the Lord has brought their way. I am sure the Lord has the “hundred fold” prepared for them and they will inherit eternal life.
If you have been blessed with an abundance of material things, then go to church often. Every time you walk through the front door to enter the church building, leave your riches on a shelf and as you enter, reverently acknowledge your emptiness and need for Jesus. When you get up to go and receive our Lord in Holy Communion, let this be your telling everyone there that this is who you really are; not a rich person but one who draws your life from Jesus Christ. If you do this, when you are leaving the church and you pick up your goodies at the front door, you will find they are quite slippery. You will not get stuck to them.
Fr. Blaise Czaja, C.P. gives parish missions and retreats. He is a member of the Passionist Community in Detroit, Michigan.