THE EYE OF THE NEEDLE

Tuesday, 20th Week in Ordinary Time           

            The “Eye of the Needle” was the name for a very low, small, or narrow gate into Jerusalem. How often Jesus notices everyday things and uses them as images to convey his message. Practically only the body of a person, big or small, can pass through this “eye of the needle.” One who has a lot of stuffs – or carrying so much baggage and belongings – will not be able to enter it. Do you get now the image? Do you understand now the message Jesus is trying to convey by using this image? Just as one needs to leave behind his or her belongings to be able to enter a very narrow gate, we need to let go of our material possessions to be able to enter the kingdom of God – because its gate is narrow indeed.

            “Who then can be saved?” What does it mean to be saved? I like the explanation of Bishop Robert Barron…“To be saved” means to participate to the fullest degree possible in the very life of God. It means being conformed to God; it is to walk the path of love, because God is love. It means surrendering to grace and allowing this grace to invade every aspect of our life – so that this grace flows through us and to the wider world. That is what it means to be saved.

            We must honestly examine ourselves and find out what is preventing us from entering through the narrow gate of the kingdom of God. It might be our working too much to be ahead and get rich so much so that we do not have time to pray anymore. It might be our being too preoccupied with material possessions so much so that we neglect our spiritual life. Indeed, we need to get rid of everything that prevents us from entering the narrow gate of the kingdom of God. Our possessions – all the things we cling to and depend on, all the things we hold on to and hoard for our security hinder us from following Jesus more closely.

            Today’s gospel is an invitation for us to examine ourselves and ask: Am I possessed and dominated by things? Where have I invested my heart? It is, indeed, a great tragedy if it turns out that what we possess starts to possess us. So, let us humbly ask the Lord to free us from this kind of attachment. Let us allow the Lord to free us from obsession to possessions.

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