The Gospel reading from the Mass for Tuesday of the 20th Week of Ordinary Time is Matthew 19:23-30.

After the Rich Young Man’s refusal of Christ’s call to perfection and to give away his riches and follow Him, Christ and the disciples watch the Rich Young Man walk away. Saddened, Christ laments, “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.” Christ’s jarring imagery clarifies the extreme difficulty for men to enter Heaven; despite their closeness to Christ, the disciples are greatly astonished and surprisingly unsure about the fate of their own souls.

Panicked at Christ’s call to perfection and His revelation of the extreme difficulty of entering Heaven, Peter, voicing the disciples’ concern about their own fate, asks, “Who then can be saved?”  Christ gazes intently at the disciples with a hint of dismay, perhaps in frustration for their unbelief, and replies, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” The Rich Young Man’s “good deeds” strategy can never work, for it is beyond imperfect men’s nature to achieve the riches of Heaven; only with God’s grace reshaping and elevating man’s nature can a man be saved.

Having realized the eternal jeopardy of the Rich Young Man’s “no”, Peter asks if the disciples’ “yes” is sufficient for Christ’s Grace. Christ, having given up the blessings of Heaven in the Incarnation, never asks His disciples to suffer something that He has not suffered and assures them their sacrifices of family, home and land in His Name will lead to eternal life. The Apostles, building on Christ’s establishment of Peter’s power to bind and loose in the Church (Matt 16:19), will assist Christ in ruling His Kingdom. Summing things up, Christ confirms “the first” (like the Rich Young Man) will be last, and “the last” (like the self-sacrificing Apostles) will be first.

Awed by Jesus ChristDivine Truth, Christ states hard uncompromising truths that make men uncomfortable.  Divine King, Christ describes His Kingdom of Heaven and that the Apostles will help Him rule. Divine Mercy, Christ assures that men who willingly sacrifice in His Name will be saved.  Divine Judge, Christ speaks with authority, disclosing the difficulty of the wealthy to enter Heaven. Divine Teacher, Christ uses common imagery with uncommon twists to teach disciples.

Being a Heroic Catholic Man

1) As growing numbers of men reject Christian morals, some Catholics downplay Christ’s call to repentance from sin because it is unpopular. Reflect on Christ’s immoveable standard of perfection and how He doesn’t water down truth to keep the Rich Young Man from turning away.

2) Given the perfection required to enter Heaven, like the Apostles, men can become fearful as they realize their own sinfulness. Reflect upon The Implications of Faith in One God (CCC 222-231) and pray for Christ to help you to grow in faith and obedience and to help you turn from fear.

3) Christ created men with the nature to aspire heroic service; He calls the Apostles and all men to heroic service and promises Heaven to those who do. Reflect upon the call to Serve Christ (CCC 160, 358, 786, 1273, 2084, 2096) and pray for Christ to help you understand and do His will.

Spiritual Practices – Include in Today’s Prayers

Sacred Mystery of Rosary – The Sorrowful Mysteries

Daily Devotion – The Guardian Angels

Virtue of the Day – Justice

Corporal Work of Mercy – To clothe the naked

Spiritual Work of Mercy – To counsel the doubtful