To Be Good Stewards of the Gospel, We Must Love as God Loves Us!
Deacon Patrick Constantino
A reading from the Gospel according to Matthew (19:23–30).
Jesus said to his disciples: “I assure you, only with difficulty will a rich man enter into the kingdom of God. I repeat what I said: It is easier for a camel to pass through a needle’s eye than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.” When the disciples heard this, they were completely overwhelmed, and exclaimed, “Then who can be saved?” Jesus looked at them and said, “For man it is impossible; but for God all things are possible.” Then it was Peter’s turn to say to him: “Here we have put everything aside to follow you. What can we expect from it?” Jesus said to them: “I give you my solemn word, in the new age when the Son of Man takes his seat upon a throne befitting his glory, you who have followed me shall likewise take your places on twelve thrones to judge the twelve tribes of Israel. Moreover, everyone who has given up home, brothers or sisters, father or mother, wife or children or property for my sake will receive many times as much and inherit everlasting life. Many who are first shall come last, and the last shall come first.”
The Gospel of the Lord!
Think back to what Fr. Edison said of being Good Steward of the Gospel.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus sets out a difficult challenge, not only for the rich but for all of us. The image of the camel passing through the eye of the needle would have made sense to his listeners, for it alluded to entering a walled city with the animal. As the camel would typically be loaded with goods, to pass through the gate into the walled city, everything had to be unloaded first.
With this in mind, we can easily see what Jesus is saying is to enter the kingdom of God, we must first rid ourselves of all the cargo, all the burdens we carry. Some of us have more than others but even if we have few, it can be easy to become attached to what we have and resist giving it up.
Is it that possessions are bad? Not in and of themselves. But Jesus is emphasizing there is something greater than our possessions and even our relationships. That something greater is loving and trusting the Lord over and above all these things. It is putting all our possessions, all our relationships, our very lives, at the service of the Lord in this life in the hope of spending eternity with Him in the next.
Cultivating such detachment is difficult. It isn’t just about giving something up; it is about having faith and trust in God, and about relying on God over and above all material possessions and our relationships. It is about truly believing, as Jesus tells us, all things are possible for God. It is about believing God does love us, as he has clearly revealed by sending his Son for our salvation and by the Lord’s continued presence in the Eucharist. Such a loving God will not abandon us. He truly Loves us and wants us to be good stewards of the Gospel. With God, everything is possible! Now look at the person next to you. Do you see God? What about around us? Do you See God? He is always there in a special way! Let us love for who they are! Jesus, I trust in You!
On July 1, 2022, Patrick Constantino retired as a Deacon for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai‘i, after serving for thirty-five years and becoming on June 18, 1987, the first Deacon of Filipino ancestry for the Roman Catholic Church in Hawai‘i. For twenty-two years, he served as Administrator at Holy Rosary Church in Pā‘ia, St. Rita Church in Ha‘ikū and St. Gabriel Church in Ke‘anae. His last assignment before retiring was at St. Joseph Church in Makawao.
Prior to his ordination, Constantino was in government—first appointed in 1966 as Assistant Sergeant of Arms by the Speaker of the House Elmer F. Cravalho. When Cravalho became Maui’s first Mayor, Constantino became his Executive Assistant—the first of Filipino ancestry. Later, Constantino became the first County Treasurer of Filipino ancestry and the first County Grants Administrator and Risk Manager of Filipino ancestry.
Constantino is married to his lovely wife Corazon for sixty-one years.