In Sunday's gospel reading (St Matthew 19:16-26), the Young Rich Man asks what he must do to inherit eternal life? He is encouraged to sell what he has and give it to the poor, then he will achieve the Kingdom.
Because each of us has attained some level of personal resources, the reading begs the question, "Will the Kingdom of God only be open to those are materially poor?
The answer would seem to be no.
Having possessions is one thing, clinging and being enslaved to them is a different matter altogether. Therein lies the greed, and the sin.
The person who is ultimately rich is the one who recognizes that everything comes from God above, the Father of Lights as he is referred to in the Prayer Before the Ambo at the conclusion of Divine Liturgy. We really are not able to possess anything and claim it as our own.
When the moment arrives that we lay claim to anything and say it is ours, that is the precise moment we actually begin to lose that gift.
It even applies to the gift of human life.
When we consider that we were created as an act of God, loved in to human existence, and invited to share in this common life with him, a life which we have no right to lay claim to as our own whatsoever, then if that's not enough for us to recognize that everything comes from God, then nothing will.
The Kingdom of God is filled with those who were aware how rich they were, because all they possessed was provided to them through the love of God. But for those who live in order to attain material wealth alone, then it seems the possibility of eternal life will indeed be a bit more difficult.
- Fr Marc Vranes