29th October

Today I had my first clinic in Letterkenny Hospital here in Donegal. This time my bloods were deemed OK and I will be able to resume my thalidomide maintenance medicine.

Today’s gospel is Lk 13:22-30

Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said togates-of-heaven him, ‘Sir, will there be only a few saved?’ He said to them, ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed.

‘Once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you may find yourself knocking on the door, saying, “Lord, open to us” but he will answer, “I do not know where you come from”. Then you will find yourself saying, “We once ate and drank in your company; you taught in our streets” but he will reply, “I do not know where you come from. Away from me, all you wicked men !”

‘Then there will be weeping and grinding of teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and yourselves turned outside. And men from east and west, from north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the kingdom of God.

‘Yes, there are those now last who will be first, and those now first who will be last.’

In my few words at Mass I spoke about having started driving tractors and cars from the age of 10. By the time it came to do the driving test I had a great opinion of my driving skills and refused to take any driving lessons. After failing the third test in 8 out of 10 categories I realised that I was presumptuous with regard to the standard of driving required for the test. I ate humble pie and got driving lessons to iron out my imperfections. I passed at the fourth attempt without any problems.

Jesus’ admonition to enter by the narrow gate is a lesson on not being presumptuous on what it requires to find salvation. The reasons why so many people failed was that Jesus didn’t really know them in spite of some prior superficial familiarity. This teaches us that as Christians we are to seek a deep friendship with God in prayer and by investing ourselves in the spiritual life. Being a nice person in itself doest qualify either for true Christianity.