If you are what you have, then if what you have is taken away, you will also stop being. This is slavery.
Today’s readings can be found here.
“Amen, I say to you, it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Again I say to you, 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.”
Too many times we have read this Gospel verse thinking that Jesus somehow is blaming wealth and affluence. What Jesus warns against is not people’s wealth, which is not infrequently the fruit of people’s earnest and honest efforts, but rather the option of thinking that life depends essentially on what one has.
Those who convince themselves of this are actually not rich but enslaved by their wealth. If you are what you have, then if what you have is taken away, you will also stop being. But if you are who you are regardless of what you have, then although you may lose the things you have due to the vicissitudes of life, you won’t succumb under ill fortune because your life is founded on something more.
This freedom makes all the difference. The big question is whether a person who has a lot is able to truly detach themself from what they have.
There have been stories in the news lately along these lines: wealthy heirs giving up their fortunes because they are disproportionate to the needs of their individual lives. Perhaps this gives us hope that St. Francis isn’t the only one who has understood this secret, but also many others who probably have not even yet met Jesus Christ but seem to be on the right track.
Father Luigi Maria Epicoco is a priest of the Aquila Diocese and teaches Philosophy at the Pontifical Lateran University and at the ISSR ‘Fides et ratio,’ Aquila. He dedicates himself to preaching, especially for the formation of laity and religious, giving conferences, retreats and days of recollection. He has authored numerous books and articles. Since 2021, he has served as the Ecclesiastical Assistant in the Vatican Dicastery for Communication and columnist for the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.