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Sunday of the Twenty-First Week in Ordinary Time

August 24, 2019

Isaiah 66:18-21

Psalm 117:1-2

Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13

Luke 13:22-30

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.”  Luke 13

As I prayed with this Gospel, I began to understand it in a way I never experienced in the past.  Jesus doesn’t answer the understandable question about whether the number who will be saves is “few” or at least a small number. Instead, He answers another way.  He tells us not to worry about how many will be saved, but to focus on our own journey and choose a path which is challenging.  As many of who want to, can enter by this narrow gate.  I find this to be both comforting and consoling.

I also get a sense that our Lord is saying to us that we can all be saved.  He is telling us that it is not something we can take for granted.  It is not a guarantee that can “seduce” us into thinking we don’t have to do anything and that we are not called to a “specific” type of life or to a special role in this world.  He is alerting us to the fact that our journey is counter-cultural.  It is not a journey that looks like a path of world values.  It isn’t about “blending in with the crowd.”

Jesus tells us through the Gospels that the path involves not judging others lest we ourselves be judged.  He tells us that we are called to learn that God desires “mercy, not sacrifice.”  He tells us that unless our holiness “surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees” we are on the wrong path.  He provides us with parables like the one about the unjust steward who has no pity on someone who owes him a debt, right after he had been forgiven his own large debt.  There is the parable about a rich person who doesn’t notice the poor person who is so close to him.  And then there is the farmer who has a huge harvest and builds a bigger barn instead of sharing his bounty with others.  Jesus teaches us the judgement at the end of our life will be on how we treated the least of his brothers and sisters by feeding and clothing them, welcoming strangers and caring for the sick or imprisoned.  Yes, He even describes the “narrow way.”  But most importantly, He comforts us by assuring us that, if we are yoked to Him, along this way, our burdens will be light.

Sisters and brothers, Jesus makes it clear that He Himself “ IS THE GATE.”  When Thomas asks how we can know the way, Jesus simply responds, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through me.” 

A personal relationship with Jesus Christ will place us on the narrow way.  In Jesus, everything else gets aligned in us.  Our desiring to be with Him actually excites our desire to be like Him as He prepares us for the joy of being with Him forever. 

Question of the Day:  Who in your life can you teach the way of Jesus?

Prayer:  Dear Jesus, thank you for inviting us along the way to life, in you and through you.  Attract us to your way with your grace.  Free me from everything   in me that wants to go my own way that seeks so much else.  Free me to love as you love.  Teach me to be merciful and just.  Make my heart like yours.  Draw us together along this way so that wee can show our joy to others and make the way easier for so many more of your precious children.

Prosit!

 

 

 

 

Deacon Tony J. Cincotta

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