Recently, we were visiting with one of our children and I referred to some friends of ours as Orientals. I was immediately corrected (and admonished) and told they are Asians and that the term I used was politically incorrect. I explained that I didn’t know that and growing up in Seattle among many, many Asians we always used the term Orientals, not with disrespect but in the same way we might refer to Europeans or Canadians. I don’t understand the change, just as I don’t understand other changes.
In the Gospel, Jesus is direct. “You know the commandments.” Notice he refers only to those having to do with others and doesn’t mention the ones that refer to God. He saves that for the end when he asks the young man to give everything he has to the poor and “follow me.” In other words. God should come first.
Wealth is relative so when Jesus tells His disciples how hard it is for a person of wealth to enter into the Kingdom of God… He is speaking to each and every one of us. It is not a matter of how many possessions I own but of how much I am possessed by them. When they own me more than I own them and I am so attached to them that I cannot let them go, then my wealth is an obstacle to letting God save me from my own weaknesses.
The disciples recognize that it is impossible for us as humans to earn, gain, achieve or manufacture our own salvation. It is a gift from God but we have to be able to accept it. We can’t be like the monkey who puts his hand into the coconut shell full of peanuts and then finds himself trapped—unable to free himself until he let’s go of his treasure. We are made smarter than that.
The commandments are still valid and straightforward but we can only observe them with God’s help.