Deuteronomy 32:26-27ab, 27cd-28, 30, 35cd, 36ab
The prophecies of Ezekiel 1-24 are prophecies of judgment directed primarily to Israel; chapters 33-48 are prophecies about Israel’s restoration. Nestled between these two sections are eight chapters (25-32) of prophecies against Gentile nations like Tyre, Sidon and Egypt.
Today, Ezekiel foretells the ruin of Tyre. The Tyrian King, Ithobaal III, has grown prideful, going so far as to think that he is a god and has the wisdom of a god. He has grown wealthy, but this has only increased his pride. Because of his pride, Ezekiel says that he will be brought down by strangers and foreigners. In fact, after laying siege to Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezzar II, the King of Babylon, would attack Tyre for 13 years, beginning in 586 or 585 B.C.
In her Magnificat, Mary will sing about how God humbles the prideful and raises up the lowly: “He has shown strength with his arm, he has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts, he has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted those of low degree; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away” (Luke 1:51-53).
Jesus today remarks how hard it is for those who are rich to enter the kingdom of God. The King of Tyre grew in wealth and pride and forgot that he was dependent on God, his Creator and Lord. Instead of possessing divine wisdom, he fell into foolishness. He stored up treasure on earth and not in heaven.
Peter and the other Apostles, on the other hand, have left everything to follow Jesus. They are given a share in Christ’s kingly authority. Jesus assures them that their sacrifices will not go unrewarded. They will receive a hundredfold in this life and, what is more, the gift of eternal life.
Jesus’ last saying can be interpreted in this light: the rich young man, who went away sad, is among the first in this world, but is actually among the last; the Apostles, who are considered among the last in this world, having left everything behind, are actually first in the Kingdom of heaven. This is a Kingdom that belongs to the poor in spirit, and not those attached to material wealth.
Readers may contact Father Jason Mitchell at [email protected].