In this podcast, Chris calls in and asks a question about the role of money in our lives: “What are the responsibilities of Catholics with money?” He refers to the passage in Scripture where Jesus says, “It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” Chris explains that while he is in a good financial position, he has a family to take care of and student loans, but he still wants to give back.
Father Dave explains that in that particular passage in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus is referring to the man and his heart. Jesus knew that giving away his money and possessions would be a particular challenge for this particular man.
Father Dave also points out that we know that God does love the rich, and there were many people during the time of Jesus, such as Joseph of Arimathea who provided Jesus’ tomb, who had greater financial means. What matters is how we use our money. God must be at the center. Father Dave relates this idea to the first commandment — that we should not have other gods before God. He says, “Sometimes we make a god of our vacation time or our business card status. There are a lot of things that we could put into that prime place that should be reserved for God.”
“There are plenty of us, if not all of us, who are in danger of some other form of idol worship. Which is, this is the thing that gets all of my heart, energy, attention.” Father Dave explains that that is the real danger, and that’s why Jesus says, “It’s harder for a rich man.” Jesus doesn’t necessarily mean a big bank account, “Because what does it say the rich man has? A lot of possessions. It could be things that may not even be monetarily worth a lot.”
Whether it’s financial or otherwise, “It’s not meant to be a polemic. Dividing down the middle that there’s some sort of magic income number and everyone on the left are faithful people and everyone on the right are heathens, and all they do is worship money. No.” Father Dave does caution that it can be harder for people with greater financial means to achieve a sense of reliance and dependence on God, which we’re called to in the Christian life. Our money or possessions shouldn’t get in the way of that.