August 21, 2022: Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Gospel: 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 ee 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.”
Again, there are so many different ideas to reflect on in this teaching passage. These are the words that stood out for me: “ … many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Am I, will I ever be, strong enough? What kind of strength is Jesus speaking of? We’ve been told by Jesus in a recent Gospel to love God with all our strength. This is a strength that comes from putting God first place in our lives. It comes from watching how Jesus lived his life, and then trying to live as he did, loving and helping the marginalized, spending time in prayer, and sharing the wisdom gleaned from our Father with others.
Consider this week how to build our strength that we might enter through the narrow door. We build our strength by living as Jesus did and by allowing the Spirit to make up for the strength that is lacking within us. We build that strength by living the second part of the great commandment and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Think about how you are showing this neighborly love this week.