Reflection 25th August 2019

A Reflection for the Twenty-First Sunday of Ordinary Time

Lk: 13: 22-30 (

Don’t Presume!

Salvation!  Who will be saved?  This is language that I have always struggled with.

Maybe there is a better way of expressing this?  I try hard when leading our parishioners in prayer to use language that is understandable, but Rome doesn’t make it easy for any of us when we look at the missalette on Sundays when attending Mass. Some words are just incomprehensible; others are even difficult to pronounce.

Salvation, Saved, Kingdom of God, Kingdom of Heaven etc. are all expressions of a life with the Creator Good, the Author of Life. 

In our Gospel today we see once again that the Jews implicitly believed that they would go straight to heaven. How about you? Do you believe as the Jews do? 

Jesus answered the Jew with a warning.  He said that only those who ‘strive to enter the narrow gate’ will be saved! 

What could this mean?  The narrow gate suggests that we become ‘small’ and be happy to get into the Kingdom of God!

Here Jesus is warning against presumption. He was telling the Jews that they were in danger of being locked out, simply because they wouldn’t listen to his message of repentance. 

Today’s readings tell us that the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor, to the clean of heart, to those who show mercy, to those who suffer in the cause of right, and to the lowly who know how to serve.  This message is not just for Jews, but for all Christians.  We are told through the Gospel that a superficial acquaintance with Jesus is not good enough to enter the Kingdom of God, words are simply not enough.  Who and how many will be saved will depend not on us, but on God.  We do know from Jesus’ teaching that the Kingdom of God is not an exclusive place as the Jews think; God wants all to be saved. 

It is important to keep in mind, whether or not we really want to enter the Kingdom of Heaven and want to put the work in to attain this eternal prize, and that there are expectations in squeezing through that ‘narrow gate’!

We must remember that Salvation (the jackpot) is not something which we earn; it is a gift from God.  Let’s strive to enter the ‘narrow gate’!

Joe Poole C.S.Sp.- Fr. Joe, who was ordained in 1995, spent a number of years on mission in Angola. He is currently leader of the Spiritan Community in Ballintubber / Ballymoe parish in Elphin diocese, and the contact person for Spiritans in the midlands and west of Ireland.