When Jesus told his followers in the passage from Matthew's Gospel that we hear in the Scriptures for today that "...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", the disciples were greatly astonished and said "Then who can be saved?" If the words of Jesus continue to hold true, then our astonishment must be even greater and our question of "Who can be saved?' becomes even more problematic. For the world in which we live glorifies wealth and power and prestige and importance, and to keep ones equilibrium is extremely difficult. Today's reading from the prophet Ezekiel also reminds the people of God that when they see themselves as the center of life, as having all that there is to have in order to be happy and successful and important, they make themselves out to be gods. And when that happens, when they lose focus and lose sight of the Lordship of God in their lives, dire things will take place. The reason is simple - without Him, all is an illusion and all will fade.
The key to the passages is not the danger of being rich in the things of this world, but rather in being rich in our understanding and acceptance of our rightful place in the order of things, of our acknowledging the Lordship of Jesus Christ in our lives and thus placing ourselves within the loving embrace of the Father. It is celebrating the Wisdom of the Holy Spirit who guides us to live our lives worthily as children of God and coheirs to eternal life. Riches or poverty in the things of this world matters very little unless it keeps us from the intimate love of our creator for us and our response to that love which gives guidance to our lives.
The truly astonishing thing is that God loves us despite ourselves, and has given us his Son as our Savior and Friend, to lead us home, to call us to repentance and conversion, and to love us "to life". And yet, that is the reality of things in God's plan. Thank you, Lord.