Humbling and Impossible

It is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for one who is rich to enter the kingdom of God. (Mark 10:25)

One school of interpretation has it that the “eye of the needle” to which our Lord refers in this simile is a very low gate in the ancient wall of Jerusalem, the only gate that was kept open at night. An armed guard would stand watch at this gate. He would allow a mounted man through, provided the rider identified himself as a citizen or a friend. To pass through the low gate, however, his camel would have to kneel down and crawl.

Apparently, this nighttime gate may sometimes have been called “the eye of the needle.” Thus, the Lord Jesus’ audience could have thought of a kneeling, crawling camel, humbly bowing low to enter the city, when they heard His simile about the rich entering the kingdom of God.

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What does ‘Evangelist’ Mean?

Blessed Pope John Paul II has been called the greatest evangelist of the 20th century. When Franciscans and other monks and nuns take their vows, they profess the three evangelical counsels. And, today, we venerate St. Matthew, the evangelist.

The word ‘evangelist’ or ‘evangelical’ can be used to mean a number of different things. But all of the meanings have one thing in common. To be evangelical means: ‘to start from Christ.’

St. Matthew the Evangelist started from Christ. Like Mark, Luke, and John, Matthew took what he knew of the earthly life of the Savior, and wrote a little book, so that we, too, can get to know Him.

Pope John Paul II started from Christ. Franciscans, Benedictines, Dominicans, Jesuits, etc., start from Christ, too.

To be an evangelist means to start from Christ. By the same token, to start from Christ means to be an evangelist. If we focus our eyes on Him and listen to what He says, we will draw others to Him.

“Those who are healthy do not need a physician, but the sick do.” We can take a cue from St. Matthew here, too. He knew he needed a soul doctor. He knew he needed a teacher. And since Matthew knew that he relied on the mercy of God, he attracted others to God’s mercy, too.

When the Lord Jesus came to Matthew’s house, many sinners also came. Why? Because their friend Matthew had found new peace and happiness, and they came searching for the same thing.

If we want to evangelize, how often do we have to start fresh from Christ? How often did St. Matthew? Every day? How about every hour of every day?

May the Lord accompany us at every moment. May everything we say and do proceed from Him and lead towards Him.