The meaning of this passage really does not have to be dug into as deeply as it often is. It does have similarities to some of the more complicated theories which say that the eye of the needle is a specific place, but the significance does not need to be so hidden as in them. It really is not necessary to say that the eye of a needle is a small pass that is so hard to climb through, you have to take all your possessions off. The meaning can be seen when Jesus's statement is taken more literally, and when it is not a double metaphor.
While many common explanations present the biblical passage as being either mistranslated, or being a mixed metaphor, or a hyperbole, it can just as easily be taken for face value. It is impossible for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle; likewise for the rich and the gates of Heaven. One might think, "There are plenty of nice Christians who just happen to be rich." However, as this statement illustrates, a rich Christian (especially one who dies in that state) is a contradiction in terms. A man who has wealth so beyond his need, has extreme power to do good. While at first this may seem as evidence against my interpretation, it is exactly the opposite. To achieve the Christian goals of charity and brotherhood among men, a rich person cannot remain materially wealthy.
As Jesus says just before the famous quote, in Matthew 19:21, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in Heaven." They must use their power and wealth to help others who are not so lucky. For every penny a man dies with that is more than he needed, there is a lost chance of a meal for some poor wretch on the street. For every luxury a man keeps in his life, there is a necessity another man lacks. For every rich man who tries to leave this world for a better one with his fancy tomb surrounded by mourners, there are many more who perish alone in the cold, forgotten by all but God.
Note: Beliefs expressed in this w/u may or may not reflect actual beliefs of the author. Please /msg me with any comments/complaints/suggestions with regards to this w/u. Thanks