Faith Daily | 16 August 2022
PRAYER of the DAY - APBA p570
you have given your only son
to be for us both a sacrifice for sin
and also an example of godly life:
give us grace that we may always thankfully receive
the benefits of his sacrifice,
and also daily endeavour
to follow the blessed steps of his most holy life;
through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
GOSPEL for the Day: Matthew 19: 23-30
23 Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.’ 25When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astounded and said, ‘Then who can be saved?’ 26But Jesus looked at them and said, ‘For mortals it is impossible, but for God all things are possible.’
27 Then Peter said in reply, ‘Look, we have left everything and followed you. What then will we have?’ 28Jesus said to them, ‘Truly I tell you, at the renewal of all things, when the Son of Man is seated on the throne of his glory, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. 29And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields, for my name’s sake, will receive a hundredfold, and will inherit eternal life. 30But many who are first will be last, and the last will be first.
GOSPEL REFLECTION: Rev’d Josie
So many people have tried to re-interpret the first few sentences of this chapter. A camel through a needle – surely that isn’t possible? Maybe he means a narrow gate which was ‘called’ the needle, or maybe we need to stop riding the camel and be more humble, or maybe the word ‘needle’ is a mistranslation…
Ultimately though, Jesus is clear at this time and many others. Being rich, being privileged, having more than the rest – this is what stands between ourselves and God.
Privilege is a funny word. It brings feelings of shame and defensiveness. Concepts like ‘white privilege’ or ‘male privilege’ have been used as battering rams instead of delicate tools. “Privilege” is a value neutral concept. It implies that there are particular struggles we have not had due to factors beyond our control. I was born white. I have not experienced racism the way someone born with darker skin has. This is not to invalidate my own struggles as a disabled, queer woman, but says that there are some I have not had to contend with.
Wealth is a bit the same. I have never had to choose between feeding myself or my children. I have never been forced to do something that damaged my soul because the alternative was torture or death. My (relative) wealth has more to do with my birth as white, well educated, LUCKY, than it does with my moral standing.
And with this wealth comes responsibility. Do I still buy clothes that are cheap, knowing that the makers can not possibly have been paid a living wage? Do I still drive a car, knowing the cost the earth is paying for my use of fuel? Do I spend money on things that are not necessary for my own survival rather than giving everything I possibly could to ensure the survival of another?
Yes. Every day. And I know I will continue to do so.
It is impossible for a camel to get through the eye of a needle. It simply can’t be done.
Thank God that in God, nothing is impossible.
FINAL PRAYER Canaan Banana, Zimbabwe
Open my eyes that they may see
the deepest needs of people;
move my hand that they may feed the hungry;
touch my heart that it may bring warmth to the despairing;
teach me the generosity that welcomes strangers;
let me share my possessions to clothe the naked;
give me the care that strengthens the sick;
make me share in the quest to set the prisoner free.
In sharing our anxieties and our love,
our poverty and our prosperity,
we partake of your divine presence.