Tuesday, 19 August 2008

My Thoughts on the Bible Readings of the day

Today's gospel reading talks about a camel going through the eye of a needle. Some interpret this as Jesus referring to a certain gate in Jerusalem called Needle's Eye. This entry-point was built like the eye of a needle and was so low that a camel could pass only if it entered kneeling and unencumbered with baggage. The lesson would then be that an eternal inheritance awaits those who unburden themselves of sin, and in particular, the things of this world. Also, kneeling represents submission and humility, which are required to enter into heaven. Unfortunately (though this interpretation is beautiful) there is no such gate in Jesus' time, so this interpretation is implausible to say the very least.

Another possible interpretation is that Jesus used the physical impossibility of a camel passing through a needle to hyperbolically express the difficulty of entering Heaven. This one is especially possible when you consider the fact that Judaism has reference in its Babylonian Talmud to "the eye of a needle":

They do not show a man a palm tree of gold, nor an elephant going through the eye of a needle.

Imagine the disciples' horror at hearing that it is impossible for a rich man to enter Heaven! You see, the Jews of Jesus' time see rich people as especially blessed (and thus righteous) in God's eyes. Thus they should have it easier when it comes to entering Heaven. Jesus overturned that idea: to enter Heaven one must allow God to make it possible for him/her. Wealth and holiness had nothing to do with it. Only with total submission to the will of God (i.e. living life according to His laws and His plans for us) to the point of leaving all other concerns behind (yes, even loved ones and pursuit of happiness) can God help us to enter Heaven. And God can do it! For Him nothing is impossible.

Memorial of Saint John Eudes

According to Wikipedia, Saint John Eudes was:

- born at Ri, France on November 14, 1601
- took a vow of chastity at the age of 14
- on 25 March 1623 joined the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri a.k.a. the Oratorians
- ordained a priest on 20 December 1625
- in 1641 founded the Congregation of Our Lady of Charity of the Refuge to provide a refuge for prostitutes who wished to do penance
- founded the Society of Jesus and Mary (Eudists) for the education of priests and for missionary work at Caen on 25 March 1643
- established the Society of the Heart of the Mother Most Admirable
- composed the Mass and Office proper to the feasts of the Holy Heart of Mary and Sacred Heart of Jesus and thus was given the title of "Author of the Liturgical Worship of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and Holy Heart of Mary" in 1903
- died at Caen on 19 August 1680
- canonized in 1925

Bible Readings of the day (Memorial of Saint John Eudes )

Today is Tue 19 Aug and here are the readings:

Ezekiel 28: 1-10
The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, say to the prince of Tyre, ‘This is what the sovereign Lord says: “‘Your heart is proud and you said, “I am a god; I sit in the seat of gods, in the heart of the seas” – yet you are a man and not a god, though you think you are godlike. Look, you are wiser than Daniel; no secret is hidden from you. By your wisdom and understanding you have gained wealth for yourself; you have amassed gold and silver in your treasuries. By your great skill in trade you have increased your wealth, and your heart is proud because of your wealth.”
“‘Therefore this is what the sovereign Lord says: Because you think you are godlike, I am about to bring foreigners against you, the most terrifying of nations. They will draw their swords against the grandeur made by your wisdom, and they will defile your splendor. They will bring you down to the pit, and you will die violently in the heart of the seas. Will you still say, “I am a god,” before the one who kills you – though you are a man and not a god – when you are in the power of those who wound you? You will die the death of the uncircumcised by the hand of foreigners; for I have spoken, declares the sovereign Lord.’”

Matthew 19: 23-30
Then Jesus said to his disciples, “I tell you the truth, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven! Again I say, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter into the kingdom of God.” The disciples were greatly astonished when they heard this and said, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and replied, “This is impossible for mere humans, but for God all things are possible.” Then Peter said to him, “Look, we have left everything to follow you! What then will there be for us?” Jesus said to them, “I tell you the truth: In the age when all things are renewed, when the Son of Man sits on his glorious throne, you who have followed me will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel. And whoever has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or fields for my sake will receive a hundred times as much and will inherit eternal life. But many who are first will be last, and the last first.”

Daily Bible Verse

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