August 21, Narrow Gate: a Sunday Scriptures blog

Great-grandparent Catholics can remember the days when Catholics thought maybe only they were saved, not “those Protestants.” At the time of Jesus, it seemed some of his Jewish people believed they also had an “in” on salvation, not “those Samaritans” or “those gentiles.” Today’s Scripture has someone asking Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus replies, “strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many … will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” His salvation is offered universally. But it is not enough to have a casual, “sometime” acquaintance with Jesus. Jesus asks his disciples for dedication and discipline — which has the same root word as disciple. Discipline is 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 this Mass petitions God 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 are given us by God. But we are still free to waste our lifetime and make dead-end choices — to choose to be His disciples or not. Both of those fundamentally different choices are honored by God. Will I be saved or locked out? Maybe this Gospel passage should have ended with Jesus saying, “It’s really up to you!”

— Blog entry by Sister Mary Garascia

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