MY daily reflection and prayer:
Sunday, August 21, 2016
Twentieth Week in Ordinary Time
Dear my friends,
Here is the Gospel for us today according to St. 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 is the Gospel of the Lord. Praise to you Lord Jesus Christ.
Dear sisters and brothers in Christ.
In today’s Gospel reading we are reminded of three things. First, that heaven surely exists for us. Jesus Christ compared it to the banquet in the Kingdom of God. It is our salvation and eternal life to achieve.
Second, that hell also exists. This is what’s outside that banquet, where there is “wailing and grinding of teeth”, images of the hopeless frustration that the human soul experiences when it is cut off forever from friendship with God.
Third, that in order to make our way to heaven to have salvation and eternal life, we have to keep on doing our part. Jesus Christ warns us that achieving salvation and eternal life is not easy. So, to someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” he gave an answer, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” What does it mean?
First, Jesus wants to warn us that salvation is not a simple thing to reach. We must strive to enter through the narrow gate. Here, he is saying that salvation depends on our active cooperation with his grace, the real effort to love God and follow his will. It is a matter of how we respond in freedom to do his will.
Striving for salvation and eternal life always involves effort, self-sacrifice, and the investment of time and energy. This is what Jesus means by “the narrow gate” that leads to salvation. To get through a narrow gate we have to leave behind all our will and desires then to do the work of salvation.
Secondly, striving to enter the narrow gate to have salvation and eternal life is not about our words, but more about our works. So he warns that not everyone who cries out, “Lord, Lord…” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of his Father in heaven. It means that we must have obedience to God’s will. It is the best assurance we can have of our salvation and eternal life.
Here, I remember what Saint Paul said, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, … work out your salvation in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). The work of salvation is something we need to take with the utmost seriousness. For achieving our salvation, every day we need to pray for the grace to persevere to the end.
But we have to know as well that we cannot achieve eternal life and salvation without Jesus Christ. He is our Saviour. He has saved all mankind and this universe through his narrow gate of his cross.
In the Perpetual Adoration of the Eucharist – especially in the difficult times for schedulling it – while adoring Jesus Christ we learn to do the work of salvation in fear and trembling not only for ourselves but also for the world. There we let his grace change our lives. Do we lovingly strive to enter this narrow gate of salvation and eternal life?
Let’s pray: Lord Jesus Christ, we love you and wish to love you with all our mind, heart, soul and strength. Help us to overcome any obstacle, so that we may be one with you and that your will may be our guide every day. May we not only cry out your name, “Lord… Lord…” but also do your will faithfully now and forever. Amen.