Jesus’ invitation for the rich man to sell what he has goes beyond letting go of his possessions in terms of money and “bank accounts.” The man is invited to give up his family. In the ancient Mediterranean world, the person’s greatest possessions were his family, home, and land. Jesus is therefore asking the man to break ties with his family and kin who were essential for life and survival. It would be a form of social suicide, if there were no compensating factors. These Jesus presents immediately: “treasures in heaven.” These are not to be understood primarily as graces or spiritual blessings. Rather, when the man leaves the security of his family and possessions, God himself will replace the sources of his sustenance. God and Jesus’ new community of disciples will replace his family of flesh and blood.
FIRST READING • Jgs 6:11-24a
The angel of the Lord came and sat under the terebinth in Ophrah that belonged to Joash the Abiezrite. While his son Gideon was beating out wheat in the wine press to save it from the Midianites, the angel of the Lord appeared to him and said, “The Lord is with you, O champion!” Gideon said to him, “My Lord, if the Lord is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are his wondrous deeds of which our fathers told us when they said, ‘Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt?’ For now the Lord has abandoned us and has delivered us into the power of Midian.” The Lord turned to him and said, “Go with the strength you have and save Israel from the power of Midian. It is I who send you.” But Gideon answered him, “Please, my Lord, how can I save Israel? My family is the lowliest in Manasseh, and I am the most insignificant in my father’s house.” “I shall be with you,” the Lord said to him, “and you will cut down Midian to the last man.” …
So Gideon went off and prepared a kid and a measure of flour in the form of unleavened cakes. Putting the meat in a basket and the broth in a pot, he brought them out to him under the terebinth and presented them. The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and unleavened cakes and lay them on this rock; then pour out the broth.” When he had done so, the angel of the Lord stretched out the tip of the staff he held, and touched the meat and unleavened cakes. Thereupon a fire came up from the rock that consumed the meat and unleavened cakes, and the angel of the Lord disappeared from sight. Gideon, now aware that it had been the angel of the Lord, said, “Alas, Lord God, that I have seen the angel of the Lord face to face!” The Lord answered him, “Be calm, do not fear. You shall not die.” So Gideon built there an altar to the Lord and called it Yahweh-shalom.
GOSPEL • Mt 19:23-30
Jesus said to his disciples: “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.” When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished and said, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For men this is impossible, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him in reply, “We have given up everything and followed you. What will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “Amen, I say to you that you who have followed me, in the new age, when the Son of Man is seated on his throne of glory, will yourselves sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And everyone who has given up houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or lands for the sake of my name will receive a hundred times more, and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.”
SOURCE: “365 Days with the Lord 2021,” ST. PAULS, 7708 St. Paul Rd., SAV, Makati City (Phils.); Tel.: 632-895-9701; Fax 632-895-7328; E-mail: [email protected]; Website: http://www.stpauls.ph.