By: Emmanuel Jacobo
May 8, 2020

The story of the Young Rich Man in Matthew 19:16-30, is a compelling narrative that can guide wealthy people (and perhaps even the regular people) on their Salvation chance, a hard story with a message very difficult to follow for many many people.

The Young Rich Man, after responding to Jesus that he was heeding the commandments since childhood asked again in Matthew 20, “The young man said to him,
“All these I have observed; what do I still lack?” Jesus answered in verse 21, Jesus said to him, “If you would be perfect, go, sell what you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me.” Upon hearing it, he went away sorrowful; for he had great possessions.

Obviously, not so many rich people can heed this Jesus’ “Perfection” criteria let alone the wealthiest few in the world, the billionaires who built their fortunes in their lifetime although there were rare people (some saints) who were wealthy who did what Jesus required above.
But then again, even middle class and poor people will hold to ones’ material possessions just because of mankind’s instinct of “self preservation”.

The reason why Jesus followed in verse 23, And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, it will be hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

Here in verses 23 and 24, Jesus emphasized the great great challenge for a rich man to enter heaven by comparing the ease of a camel getting through the eye of a needle- Translation? – impossible!
Very very difficult because in the history of this world nobody (except very holy would-be saints) gives away everything that he’s got.

Imagine if Jesus rule will be heeded today, the 5 world’s richest people have to give away their $60-$100 billion dollars each to the poor. Jeff Bezos (Amazon)-$117B; Bill Gates (Microsoft)-$100B; Bernard Arnault Family (LVMH)-$92B; Warren Buffet (Berkshire Hathaway)-$71B; Larry Ellison (Oracle)-$63B. None of these 5 wealthiest will give away even half of their fortunes ever let alone everything that they got and they too will surely walk away from this huge and impossible task just like the young rich man.

But then again, Jesus didn’t rule out salvation of these wealthy people by hinting that they too have a chance in verse 25 and 26: When the disciples heard this they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” 26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Now, verse 26 is a great great hope for rich people who are interested in a better accommodation next life in heaven but Jesus didn’t spell out how. What are the possibilities for them to buy their ticket to the gate of Eternal Life?

For that matter, people of middle class and even poor level in the economic scale will have a hard time giving away their entire earthly possession they earned in their lifetime even for a huge reward of Eternal Life in happiness with Jesus and/or God.

This is a sad sad reality of our temporary earthly existence because of the fact that we tend to prefer and cling to our temporary stay here than the “Infinite” life in our Next Life which is forever and ever knowing that we are going there sooner or later and there’s nothing we can do about it.

In conclusion, I’d like to speculate about the “hope” that Jesus gave to the rich people and to the many that cannot do the “Great Sacrifices” that Jesus required as the criteria for a “guaranteed” ticket to the gate of Eternal Glory. I think that anyone who did enough good (more than evil) and died recognizing God and “repented” just like the “Good Penitent Thief” shall be qualified “Saved” and can spend some time in the equalizer of the Catholic Lingo “Purgatory” to purify, cleanse and fulfill the “Perfection” required by Jesus – a better predicament than the Place of Torment/Lake of Fire on the other side.

My goal and mission for the rest of my life is to “Make it to Heaven and bring others there!” because as I quote myself, “The smartest people that walk this earth are the Saints because they knew their Math by recognizing the difference between 70-100 years on earth and Eternity.”

God Bless us!

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