August 25, Narrow Gate: a Sunday Scriptures blog

Sometimes people say they think there is no hell, or if there is, no one is in it because the merciful God would never send anyone there. In Sunday’s Gospel someone asks Jesus if only a few are saved. Jesus answer, in the prophetic tradition, sounds severe. Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. Then Jesus tells a story about servants who misbehave when the master is away, and when the master locks them out on his return, they protest: But “we ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.” If you ever had a job then you can identify with this story. Employees are really servants. Bosses must depend on us. It is not enough to attend the employee orientation or read the policy manual. Good employees must inculcate the intent and spirit and mission of their company and carry it out without the boss looking over their shoulder. The same with disciples. It is not enough to have a casual, “sometime” acquaintance with Jesus. Jesus asks his disciples for dedication and discipline (same root word as disciple), the topic of our second reading from Hebrews. It takes discipline to do consistently with love what the Lord asks, not only for a year or two but during whatever lifetime we may be given. The opening prayer of the Mass says: O God … grant your people to love what you command and desire what you promise, that amid the uncertainties of this world our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found. The graces to keep our hearts fixed on our goal — that place of true gladness — are given us by God. But our own freedom to waste our lifetime and make dead end choices — or to choose to be His disciples — both of those fundamentally different choices are honored by God. Will I be saved or locked out? Maybe this Gospel passage should have ended by Jesus saying, “It’s really up to you!”

– Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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