Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost – 2021

Glory to Jesus Christ!

In today’s Gospel our Lord remarks that it is easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of heaven.

Now, I’ll leave aside and I’ll leave to your own investigation the inquiry and the study that has been done on just exactly what is referred to by the word that is translated as “camel” in English. Some hold it to be familiar pack animal with a hump on its back, and others – and not without reason – say that the word as used here refers to a very large, thick rope, or a cable.

In either case, the point remains that something very large is attempting to pass through something comparatively very small, very restrictive.

And it’s this imagery of a camel – of whatever kind – attempting to pass through the eye of a needle – that’s what stick in our minds. That’s often what we’ll think about if we turn our thoughts to this lesson from our Lord. We’re doing it right now, obviously. And there’s nothing wrong with that! Our Lord used such imagery that we might think on it, and might be challenged by the concept presented.

The Apostles themselves were challenged by the concept, and, as the Gospel says, “[T]hey wondered very much, saying: Who then can be saved? And Jesus beholding, said to them: With men this is impossible: but with God all things are possible.”

And there is the point of what our Lord is saying: Humanly, this is impossible. But with God all things are possible.

Our Lord challenges us with an image we can’t quite wrap our heads around. How can one really begin to imagine a camel passing through the eye of a needle? We could make the needle bigger and the camel smaller, perhaps, but that wasn’t a part of the original imagery, and it’s really beyond our human power to be doing such things at will. So we are left with an intractable problem.

The Lord does not leave us in a quandary; He does not leave us frustrated, without assistance. But He does leave us with a truth which might shake us out of our selves: There are some things which we simply can not do. There are some problems which we can not work out. There are some questions which we can not answer. There are some thing which simply are – for us – impossible.

But with God all things are possible.

We do well to remember this. We do well to remember it especially when we are surrounded by difficulties and trials of all kinds. This continuing pandemic and all that goes along with it. Civil unrest, societal uncertainty, a complete lack of civility in discourse at all levels.

And humanly speaking, doesn’t all this seem to present an impossible task to us? How is any of this to be overcome? Doesn’t it cry out for the conversion of hearts and minds, the renewal of morals and behaviour, the rescuing, as it were, of all of us who have fallen victim to our own hubris and self-centeredness to the point that we have lost the light of our souls which is given to illuminate the pathway of our life and to keep us on the way of that which is good and true and beautiful? Aren’t we presented with an impossible task?

Yes, we are. It is impossible for us. But not with God.

For this reason, even in the face of impossibility, we aren’t discouraged. You have an impossible task before you? Don’t be discouraged. Don’t even think of giving up. When God places an impossible situation in your life, the only thing keeping it from being resolved is you. You’re the one who makes it impossible. For with God all things are possible.

Let us seek daily the grace of God within our hearts, through heartfelt prayer, by placing ourselves each day before the Lord of all that we might simply be in His presence. That we may see His presence and His works in all that is around us. That we also may be seen by Him. Our Lord, of course, sees us always and everywhere, but this is not a relationship. A relationship – even with Him Who is the Lord of the Universe – is reciprocal. We behold Him and we are beheld by Him. In this relationship is where we find His grace. And in this grace is indeed the light of our soul and our minds that can illuminate everything around us. It is in this light of grace that we can see the impossible made possible through the divine power. It is in the light of grace that you can see camels passing through the eye of a needle.

Place yourself in presence of the Lord. Behold Him. Be beheld by Him. And witness the defeat of impossibilty.

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