August 25, 2019: Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
Reading: Luke 13:22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
This gospel should remind us that it is only in this life that we will be saved. What comes after our death is determined in the now of our earthly lives. So, the question of how do we become known by God is of great importance.
Jesus makes it clear that becoming known by God has nothing to do with what church or group we belong to. But it has everything to do with our choices to strive to enter through the narrow gate.
God excludes no one. We exclude ourselves by the choices we make. The gate Jesus has in mind is himself. Jesus immersed himself into a life of self-giving and the wider challenge of loving our neighbors. Entry through the narrow gate will require us to do the same.
Sit in a quiet space. Close your eyes and bring to mind an image of a narrow gate. Spend a minute or two with this image. Think about the choices that brought you great joy in your own striving to enter through the narrow gate. What choices have you struggled with?