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 men 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.” How do you interpret a camel passing through an eye of a needle? Do you take the interpretation that it was possible but difficult, or the one that states it as impossible?The possible but difficult interpretations consider the “eye of the needle” to be a mountain pass, others consider it to be a small gate in a city wall. The camel can pass through the mountain pass if it treads carefully as can the rich man. The same is true for the city gate; a camel can pass through that if unburdened by a load and the rich can pass through if likewise unburdened. Some say the camel is a misinterpretation for a large rope, the Aramaic word for rope and camel were the same; gamla. Can a large rope pass through the eye of a needle? Difficult, but not impossible.The final choice is the literal one where camel means the animal, and eye of a needle means the eye of a sewing needle. Is it possible or impossible? Impossible! That was Peters astonishment. He, and the other close disciples left everything behind to follow Jesus and his promise of a kingdom. If it were not an option for the rich, what chance did he have to enter it. It was , as Peter thought, an impossibility for the rich to enter this kingdom and Jesus’s story highlighted that difficulty.If it was impossible for the rich, WHAT CHANCE DID THE POOR HAVE !!!!!When Jesus says ,”For men this is impossible,but for God all things are possible”, Peter finds little comfort. His reply “What will there be for us?” Has Peter lost faith in God? Maybe Peter was a bit like that camel trying to do the impossible and felt like he was not making it. The mountain pass was treacherous and he was stumbling. Life for a fisherman in Galilee was nearly as impossible as it was for a camel going through a mountain pass, or a narrow gate. He unwound every thread from that rope but still could not pass through the needle and his efforts tried his faith. His discipleship too brought challenges and uncertainties. Jesus was aware of the challenges Peter faced in life, he knew of the impossible situations of the day and he knew how it takes a toll on ones faith. Jesus also knew that the Kingdom was at hand, it was within reach , though reaching it required perseverance. Jesus knew all was possible in God, and perhaps wanted to remind Peter of the rewards at the end of the Journey; a journey that felt like a camel passing through a needle, an impossible journey.