Daily Reflection
August 22nd, 2000
Shirley Scritchfield
Institutional Research & Assessment
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Queenship of the Virgin Mary - Memorial 
Ezekiel 28:1-10
Deuteronomy 32:26-28, 30, 35-36
Matthew 19:23-30

“Truly I tell you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.  Again, I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eyes of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God.”  Matthew 19: 23-24.

Last year during our commemoration of the El Salvador martyrs, a young man who knew and worked with the martyrs came to speak to us, to share his story and tell us of the meaning of those days—then and now.  At the moment, I can’t recall his name.  But, I remember him and what he said vividly.  I can see his face, the intensity of commitment shining in his eyes; and, I can hear the God-given passion in his voice.  His words have echoed through my head and heart since that day, yet ultimately receding into the shadows of work, relationship, and responsibility.  Today’s gospel pulled them from the shadows into the light—asking me, nudging me to confront again the essence of those words.

So, what did he say?  And what does that have to do with Jesus’ words today?

Our visitor was asked what we in the U.S. could do when we learn of the plight of the poor in the Third world, the atrocities, the injustice, the inhumanity of other humans.  Pointing to the centrality of the reality of the “new” global economy and its implications for Third world persons, he said—“Act as if the truth is true.”

… Act as if the truth is true?  What?  Was this some kind of puzzle?  No, I heard it—I knew what it meant, at least for me.  

Our young friend was reminding me that what I do in my day-to-day life affects the poor people of El Salvador, of Zimbadwe, of Indonesia, of Mexico, of...   Like most U.S. citizens, I consume much beyond my fair share of the world’s resources—in effect, robbing my less fortunate neighbor of her daily bread.  And, many of the clothes I wear were made by women and children, working for slave wages, typically in deplorable conditions.  

I am rich—not necessarily by U.S. standards, but most certainly by world standards.  Jesus’ words are directed to me—and all First world persons.  He confronts me/us with the truth that we are too often blind to the implications of our wealth—implications not only for our day-to-day priorities and relationship to God, but also for our neighbors.  Our material wealth, our consumption is not just about us—it directly affects those we seldom see as neighbors, those we are asked to love as we love ourselves.  

Oh, these words—both those of Jesus and our young friend—present a tall order.  How do we live into the meaning of those words?  The answers may vary, but I know that we are being called to live into them!  Am I up to it?  Are you?  Or, will we, like the rich young man in Matthew, turn and walk away?

Act as if the truth is true…  Listen…Jesus calling…  May we answer with all we have to give.

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