21st August – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Today’s gospel (Luke 13:22-30, see below) was about the narrow door that leads to eternal narrow gatelife. I made the following points in my homily.

The fact that the door leading to eternal life is narrow, not wide, should lead us to be not presumptuous in our living of the Christian faith. We will need to be diligent like those who set out to win a prize like Olympic athletes or those preparing for a major academic examination. How much greater is the prize of eternal life held out to us by the Good News.

Many of Our Lady’s apparitions are filled with concern for the salvation of her children. The essential message of Lourdes and Fatima was to offer prayer and penance for the conversion of sinners. At Fatima she asked that a special prayer be said at the end of each decade of the Rosary: O MY JESUS FORGIVE US OUR SINS, SAVE US FROM THE FIRES OF HELL. LEAD ALL SOULS TO HEAVEN ESPECIALLY THOSE IN MOST NEED OF YOUR MERCY.

How can we live our lives such that we are aligned with this narrow door? Firstly, Jesus says to those who do not succeed in passing through the door: I DO NOT KNOW WHERE YOU COME FROM. In Matthew’s gospel he says simply: I DO NOT KNOW YOU. How can we know Jesus when we are 2000 years later than his time on earth? Well, we can effectively know Jesus as did the first disciples by the gift of prayer. Thus we need to make prayer a priority in our lives.

Secondly, in the gospel acclamation, Jesus says: IF YOU LOVE ME, YOU WILL KEEP MY WORD. In today’s world, many wear as a badge of honour that they are cafeteria Christians, picking and choosing among the tenets of the Faith what they believe and do not believe. Yet, God gave us Ten Commandments. He means us to keep all ten and not just pick some 9 or 8 out of the list.

Through towns and villages Jesus went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem. Someone said to 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.’