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Wednesday of the Twenty-third Week in Ordinary Time

My dear encountered couples:

“Blessed are you poor, woe to you rich”, declares Jesus. Is he saying that everyone without money is going to heaven, everyone with money is going to hell? What Jesus often tried to explain was that poverty guarantees no one heaven nor does wealth keep anyone out; it is faith and humility that are necessary.

In the parable of the rich man and Lazarus the beggar who sat at his gate hoping for a few crumbs from his table, we are told the rich man went to hell and Lazarus to heaven. Was that because the rich man was rich and Lazarus poor? Or because the rich man allowed himself to depend on his riches while Lazarus depended on God? How about Abraham, Isaac, David, Solomon, and Job? We are led to believe they were all extremely wealthy. Does that mean they didn’t make it to heaven?

The poverty and riches Jesus talks about do not consist in things external, in having or not having material goods. It is something that goes much deeper, something that affects a person’s soul. It is a humble attitude towards God, total faith in God that saves both the poor and the rich.

To understand what Jesus is saying is important. But to live with the attitude he is talking about is essential to our eternal well-being . Blessed are both the poor and the rich who realize that God is the source of all that is good, place themselves in his hands, and use whatever material things they do possess in his service.

The kingdom of heaven is theirs.

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