Who then can be saved?

Published August 16, 2022, 12:05 AM

by Manila Bulletin


In the prior episode leading to today’s Gospel, a rich young man approaches Jesus and asks him, “Teacher, what good must I do to gain eternal life?” (Mt 19:16). This is the same as asking, “What good must I do to enter the Kingdom of heaven?” or “How can I be saved?” The Jews believed that observing the commandments would gain them eternal life. In approaching Jesus with his question, is the young man seeking Jesus’ endorsement of his righteous conduct or does he feel that something else is lacking? Surprisingly, for Jesus, obeying the commandments is not sufficient in his case. Jesus asks of him a complete surrender to the providence of God by selling what he has and give to the poor. The man is not equal to the challenge and goes away sad. This leads to Jesus’ remark in today’s Gospel that it is hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of heaven. The image of a camel passing through the eye of a needle astonishes the disciples who ask, “Who then can be saved?” Jesus answers that by human effort alone, salvation is impossible, but with God’s grace, everything is possible. A person who looks at the Kingdom as a pearl of great price will be ready to let go of earthly treasures.

Responsorial Psalm • Dt 32
“It is I who deal death and give life.”

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 human beings 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 2022,” 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.