In both of today’s readings, we are explicitly warned about the perils of wealth. Ezekiel warns that money can create the illusion that those who possess wealth are gods. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus says that “it will be hard for one who is rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven.” If we take these words literally and at surface level, it seems that we should condemn the rich and laud the poor. However, the words of Scripture are always more complex than at first glance and push us to greater depth.

For both Ezekiel and Jesus, it is not just about money. They are both concerned that those who have everything cease being in relationship with God. When we have all kinds of resources, talents, relationships and wealth at our disposal, we stop including God in our life. Life then becomes about our plans and not God’s plan. In other words, Jesus’s and Ezekiel’s messages do not only hold for the billionaires of the world, but for each one of us.

Briefly examine your life and life plans. Did you include God in those plans? Did everything you have happen because you made it possible, or because God made it possible?

—Jeffrey Sullivan, S.J., a Jesuit scholastic of the Wisconsin province, is teaching at Loyola Academy, Wilmette IL.