The words of Jesus in the gospels can be seen as roughly falling into one of two categories.  One category includes words of consolation.  The other includes words of challenge/warning.  Mt. 19: 23-24 is of the latter type.

In that passage Jesus warns of the danger posed by riches.  Typically our first reaction to that warning is to think it doesn’t apply to us since the overwhelming majority of us do not think of ourselves as rich.

It is true that much good can be accomplished by proper use of riches. Think of the foundations established by a number of very rich people.  But it is also true that riches can lead to negative results.  Riches may give rise to a false sense of power and independence, ultimately leading a person to think they no longer need God.  Riches tend to shackle a person to material goods and to lose sight of spiritual realties. Riches do not eliminate the human tendency to greed which causes us always to want more.   Someone put it this way: enough is always a little more than one has.

But there is more involved than riches in a material and quantitative sense.  It is a question of detachment. The challenge we all face is never to let or anything else interfere with or damage our, relationship with God. The passage immediately preceding that warning about riches tells of the rich young man who went away sad having refused to follow Jesus because of his attachment to his wealth.

To reinforce his warning about the danger of riches Jesus uses the vivid metaphor of the difficulty of a camel passing through the eye of a needle.  That image is so strong the disciples are over whelmed and ask who, then, can be saved. Jesus replied” “For man it is impossible.  But for God, all things are possible.”
By that reply Jesus reminded his disciples of an important truth.  We do not save our-selves.  Only God can save us. God does not accept us because of our efforts.

God accepts us because of God has done for us in the person of Jesus Christ.  It is not the case that my keeping the commandments and my good works save me.  I could not do that without God’s grace.  Fulton Sheen expressed that very well when he said:  “God doesn’t love me because I am good.  I am good because God loves me.”