In the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
The Lord warns us today of how difficult it is for a man who is rich to enter
the Kingdom of God. Does it mean that the Kingdom of God is open only to
destitute, to those who are materially poor, who lack everything on earth? No.
The Kingdom of God is open to all who are not enslaved by possessions. When we
read the first Beatitude, 'Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the
Kingdom of Heaven’, we are given a key to this saying: the poor in spirit are
those who have understood that they possess nothing which is their own. We have
been created as an act of God, loved into existence; we are offered by God
communion with Him to which we have no rights. All we are, all we possess is not
our own in the sense that we have not made ourselves, we did not create what is
seemingly ours - every thing which we are and which we have is love, the love of
God and the love of people, and we cannot possess anything because everything is
a gift that escapes us the moment we want to have possession of it and say, "It
On the other hand, the Kingdom of God is really the kingdom of those who are
aware that they are infinitely rich because we can expect everything from love
divine and from human love. We are rich because we possess nothing, we are rich
because we are given all things; and so, it is difficult for one who imagines
that he is rich in his own right to belong to that kingdom in which everything
is a sign of love, and nothing can be possessed, as it were - taken away from
others; because the moment we say that we possess something which is not given
us either by God or by human care, we subtract it from the mystery of love.
On the other hand, the moment we cling to anything we become slaves of it. I
remember when I was young, a man telling me: Don't you understand that the
moment you have taken a copper coin in your hand and are not prepared to open
your hand to let it go, you have lost the use of a hand, the use of an arm, the
use of your body, because all your attention will be concentrated on not losing
this copper coin, - the rest will be forgotten.
Whether we keep in our hand a copper coin, or whether we feel rich in so many
other ways - intellectually, emotionally, materially is irrelevant, - we are
prisoners, we have lost the use of a limb, the use of our mind, the use of our
heart; we can no longer be free, and the Kingdom of God is a kingdom of freedom.
On the other hand also, how difficult it is to one who has never lacked anything,
who has always possessed more than he needs, to be aware of the poverty or the
need of another: poverty - material, emotional or intellectual, or any other
lack. It requires a great deal of understanding and sympathy, it requires from
us that we should learn to be attentive to the movements of other people's
hearts and to their material needs in order to respond to them. One says in
Russian 'A satisfied person no longer understands a hungry one'; which of us can
say that we are hungry in any respect? And this is why we do not understand the
needs of people - of one another here, or of people beyond the confines of our
So, let us reflect on that; poverty does not mean destitution; it means freedom
from enslavement to an illusion that we are self-sufficient, self-contained, the
creator of what we are and what we possess. And also free from enslavement to
what is given us to make husbandmen of God.
Let us reflect on this; because if we learn this, if we learn what Saint Paul
said that whether he is rich, whether he is destitute, he is equally rich
because his richness is in God and in the human love. Then we will be able,
whether we possess material things or not, to be free of them, and to belong to
God's Kingdom which is a Kingdom of mutual love, or mutual solidarity, of
compassion for one another, of giving to one another what we were given freely.