Homilette for Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Tuesday of the Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time

(Matthew 19:23-30)

In the novel The Great Gatsby the consummate self-made man tries to woo the love of his life by showing off his expansive wardrobe. Of course, the woman, who is also wealthy, is not impressed. Neither the man nor the woman realizes the true purpose of wealth. It cannot buy happiness but allows people to assist others through investment, considerate spending, and generous giving.

The gospel today as well as the reading from Ezekiel conveys the folly of hankering after wealth. Jesus’ disciples seem astounded when he suggests that wealth cannot buy a place in the Kingdom of heaven. They think that since the wealthy appear to be blessed by God on earth, they will inherit choice places in heaven. No, Jesus advises them, the rich perhaps more than the poor need God’s mercy to be saved.

To follow Jesus we must come to terms with wealth. As he says, no person can serve two masters. We should show firm allegiance to the Lord. One man did this by using the maxim: for a successful life a person is to spend twenty years learning, twenty years earning, and twenty years serving.