Today’s Scriptures extol the virtue of poverty of spirit, which is perhaps one of the more difficult virtues to embrace and nurture. Saint James illustrates how things of this world, specifically the pursuit of riches, can be not only a powerful distraction from the spiritual life, but can also leave one complicit in serious sin. In the Gospel, Jesus exhorts us not to let anything – not even the members of our own body – to get in the way. We are called to be salt in the world; to flavor our interactions with others such that they see the attraction of life in Christ.
But if we’re ever going to accomplish it, we have to be poor in spirit. We have to get over ourselves and shed whatever takes us off the right path. If our hands or feet or eyes lead us down the wrong path, we have to humble ourselves and get rid of that obstacle so that we can salt the world.
Possessing the kingdom of heaven is our goal; in fact it’s why we were created. That’s the ultimate destination on the spiritual journey. To get there, we can’t be content with the things that get in the way. We have to pluck out the errant eye, to lop off the wayward limb. We have to give up worldly riches, especially those garnered at the expense of the poor, and go all in for the kingdom of God.