The big problem
of the rich
Fr. ROY CIMAGALA,
April 2, 2019
WHAT is the big problem of
the rich? Christ spelled it out when he said, “It is easier for a
camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to
enter the kingdom of God.” (Mt 19,24)
The big problem of the
rich, in short, is his attachment to his wealth such that he cannot
give himself fully to God. He may give the appearance that he is
giving a lot, but if it is not the whole of himself, then it is not
total self-giving which God deserves and expects from each one of
Let us always remember
that God wants the whole of ourselves. He wants our entire heart,
not a divided heart. He wants to be everything to us, the first and
the last, the Alpha and the Omega. He wants to be given priority
over everything else, including our own life.
This is not selfishness on
his part, an act of ego-tripping. It is simply in recognition of the
basic truth that everything, including our life, comes from him and
also belongs to him. We have no right whatsoever to expropriate as
our own what actually comes and belongs to God.
We need to understand that
our intelligence and will, our freedom and rights that enable us to
be and to do what we want, and to be rich in many ways, also come
from God and belong to him. They can only be properly exercised when
used in accord with God’s will and ways.
And to be rich here does
not mean only those with a lot of money and resources. It can mean
those who are well-endowed in the other aspects of life – power,
fame, health, intelligence, luck, etc.
We need to remind
ourselves constantly that even if we can say we are the owners of
such wealth, resources, talents, power, fame, and indeed of our
whole life, we actually are at best only stewards who have to give
account to the absolute owner of all these things that we possess.
We have to continually
fight against the tendency and the constant temptation to think that
all these things are simply are own, that we are their absolute
owners. This is not going to be easy, of course, because even within
ourselves we have the villain that will always push us to think that
That is why we really
would need to make use of strong and constant measures to see to it
that we are properly detached from whatever form of human and
worldly wealth we can own and possess in this life.
It is not that we avoid
acquiring wealth in this life. The acquisition of wealth can be an
expression of the productivity and fruitfulness that is also
expected of us. But we need to always rectify our intentions, seeing
to it that everything we do in this department is always for the
glory of God and for the common good of the people.
This should be shown in
the way we live our life that should be marked by the qualities of
simplicity, austerity, humility, generosity, magnanimity, honesty,
We need to be spiritually
strong and tough such that we would be willing to lose everything
that we may have acquired with great effort in just an instant. We
have to constantly remind ourselves that with God we would already
have everything. “Solo Dios basta,” as St. Teresa used to say.
Let us never forget that
wealth in whatever form, if not related to God, is the worst
corrupting agent we can have in life. Everyday, we should devise a
plan of protecting ourselves from the strong attraction of wealth
that would take us away from God and from others.