|21st Sunday in Ordinary time, 21 Aug 2016|
From the Dean’s desk
It is interesting how at times a simple question can open up a plethora of ideas and concerns. At the beginning of today’s Gospel [Luke 13:22-30] a certain person asks Jesus: ‘will there be only a few saved?’ He asked this with the expectation that Jesus would have reinforced the notion that salvation would have been the reward for the Jews. The Chosen Ones and that there would be no room for Gentiles or pagans!
Jesus’ answer challenges the hearer to think of salvation on a different and broader dimension. He challenges his audience to recognise that salvation or placement within the Kingdom is not due solely because a person believes themselves to be a member of a particular race, no matter how privileged one may consider themselves. Just because the Jews were God’s Chosen People, did not mean that salvation was automatically theirs. So too with ourselves. We may think of ourselves as being specially chosen in and through our Baptism. As great a privilege as this is, it does not mean that we are automatically granted a special place in God’s kingdom. Jesus makes it clear that inclusion in the Kingdom is based on a person’s disposition and interior application of Jesus’ teaching. ‘Try your best to enter by the narrow door, because I tell you that, many will try to enter and will not succeed’ says Jesus to the crowd.
What is this ‘narrow door’? The mental image is of an entrance which is accessible but can only accommodate a few people at a time: accessible but narrow! It seems that it is best to make one’s way through the door before there is a great number trying to push through and gain entrance. Jesus also states that upon entering one may be surprised by the people already granted accommodation: ‘men from east and west, north and south, will come to take their places at the feast in the Kingdom of God’. We are not the ones who determine the people who gain entry into the Kingdom. This is the sole domain of God. All that remains for us is simply to go on living the types of lives expected of us: lives based on and lived out of the values of the Gospel. As Jesus mentioned to us some weeks back: ‘When someone is entrusted with a great deal, of that person even more will be demanded’ [Luke 12:48]. Those who have been ‘entrusted with a great deal’ can easily be living lives contrary to the values of the world. It is a path that leads us to the narrow door. Let us pray for the strength to be able to remain faithful to the ways of Christ, to not rely solely on our Christian identity, but that through the living out of the demands of that identity we may gain admission into God’s Kingdom through the narrow door.
Fr Robert Bossini