Extract from a sermon at Grafton Cathedral on Jacaranda Sunday, 27 October 2019:
Hyperbole was one of Jesus’ favourite tools, and we certainly seem to have it in action here.
Infants are welcome, rich rulers can go to the end of the line.
Now that is good news for some, but not do for others.
It is good news for the poor, the sick, the unemployed, the refugees, the people whose lands will soon disappear under rising sea levels, and everyone who the powerful and privileged people overlook.
It is not good news for those of us who are comfortable and privileged.
Yet Luke was writing his account of Jesus for the successful people in the second-century Roman world. He wants the rich rulers to hear the good news that Jesus both proclaims and lives.
And we need to hear that good news as well.
If we have wealth or privilege or status, then that is to be spent for the sake of others. It is not to be hoarded and protected as if it somehow gives us a cosmic superannuation fund for the future.
For the rich ruler ‘giving away all that he had’ sounded like a punishment, rather than an opportunity to share the blessings around.
Yet a core spiritual principle of our faith is that ‘it is more blessed to give than to receive’ (or we might say to share rather than to hoard).
The full text of this sermon together with video may be found online.