Does God hate rich people? Jesus said,
“it is harder for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven than for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle”
This does not explicitly mean that the rich man is doomed. In many instances the scriptures showed us how God prospered His people. He prospered Abraham and Joseph. He prospered David and Solomon; and Job who remained steadfast in his faith amid all the miseries that befell him, the Lord doubled what he had lost.
In fact, the Lord wants His people to prosper because the wealth of this world in the hands of His people can be used to further His kingdom on earth; it is only then that wealth is used to uplift others.
What is sinful then is GREED – the love and attachment for things of the earth than the love for people; when we start loving money and using people instead of using money and loving people. Wikipedia defines greed as:
“inordinate desire to acquire or possess more than one needs.”
Relating to this story, the “rich and the camel passing through the eye of the needle” comes to my mind. Once, when we took this up in one term of Sacred Scriptures, our instructor told us about the “eye of the needle” as a small gate in the walls of Jerusalem that is used during ordinary days. I would relate it today to a “Judas’ Gate“, the smaller door in the bigger double-door gate, which is used by people without the inconvenience of opening the much bigger and heavier doors.
Supposedly, the “eye of the needle” only allowed people to pass through. The bigger gate of Jerusalem is only opened during Sabbath and on feast days. During ordinary days, a camel may be able to pass through this gate kneeling down and without the burden of its baggage. Searching google (again) for “eye of the needle” [specifically for this re-post], I came upon this picture and article by Fr. Ed which will make it easier for us to understand what an “eye of the needle” is as Jesus related in the parable. It’s pretty the same as we were taught, but this is just expanded as mine is a shorter explanation.
According to our instructor, the “rich” man [emphasis is mine] can only enter the kingdom of heaven if he divests himself from all attachments to material things and only with a repentant and humble heart. I emphasized rich because riches may not be limited to money or materials possessions, they can be power, or fame or even another person which we idolize (made as god), that which we feel as the same or even more important than God .
So we start building our relationships with people by using our “T’s” (our talent, time and treasure) to bring our brethren to a better understanding of God’s goodness — that of SHARING. When we learn to share with the least of our brethren then truly this world would be Heaven on earth.