24 And the disciples were astonished at his words. But Jesus again answering, saith to them: Children, how hard is it for them that trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God? 25 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 God.
Bede: He says not, how impossible, but “how hard”; for what is impossible cannot in any way come to pass, what is difficult can be compassed, though with labour.
Theophylact: It may be that by camel, we should understand the animal itself, or else that thick cable, which is used for large vessels.
Bede: How then could either in the Gospel, Matthew and Joseph, or in the Old Testament, very many rich persons, enter into the kingdom of God, unless it be that they learned through the inspiration of God either to count their riches as nothing, or to quit them altogether.
Or in a higher sense, it is easier for Christ to suffer for those who love Him, than for the lovers of this world to turn to Christ; for under the name of camel, He wished Himself to be understood, because He bore the burden of our weakness; and by the needle, He understands the prickings, that is, the pains of His Passion. By the eye of a needle, therefore, He means the straits of His Passion, by which He, as it were, deigned to mend the torn garments of our nature.
26 Who wondered the more, saying among themselves: Who then can be saved?
Bede: Since the number of poor people is immeasurably the greater, and these might be saved, though the rich perished, they must have understood Him to mean that all who love riches, although they cannot obtain them, are reckoned in the number of the rich.
27 And Jesus looking on them, saith: With men it is impossible; but not with God: for all things are possible with God.
Bede: Which we must not take to mean, that covetous and proud persons can enter into the kingdom of Heaven with their covetousness and pride, but that it is possible with God that they should be converted from covetousness and pride to charity and lowliness.
Chrysostom: The reason why He says that this is the work of God is, that He may shew that he who is put into this path by God, has much need of grace; from which it is proved, that great is the reward of those rich men, who are willing to follow the discipline of Christ.
Theophylact: When we listen to God, it becomes possible, but as long as we keep our human notions, it is impossible.
Scripture from the Douay-Rheims Bible. Commentary from St. Thomas Aquinas, Catena Aurea, Vol. II (London: Rivington, 1842).
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