“People to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.” - William Faulkner
(Gospel text: Lk 13:22-30)
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
"Lord, will only a few people be saved?"
He answered them,
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
'Lord, open the door for us.'
He will say to you in reply,
'I do not know where you are from.'
And you will say,
'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.'
Then he will say to you,
'I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!'
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last."
Rather than get overly anxious about these images, I choose to accept the message as a wakeup call: “Don’t become complacent. You have a lot of work to do. The race isn’t over.” I need this message sometimes. I want to believe I’ve done enough to merit heaven. But then I have to remember I cannot merit heaven. I can never do or pray enough to deserve heaven.
Ultimately we are talking about God’s grace, gift, unconditional love and forgiveness. I must not get complacent or feel entitled to salvation, but neither can I do enough to earn it. Some who might be last right now may end up in heaven long before me.
How do we do this?
Be that one who wakes up a few minutes early to begin your day with the Lord, amidst a crowd be courageous, and pray before your meal; take some time during the day to be in silence with the Lord, smile at whomever you meet along your path, pray for someone going through a hard time, spend time talking with a friend, call a family member and remind them how much you love them, thank God for the blessings in your life, go to confession regularly, received the Blessed Sacrament at the minimum weekly, do whatever it is God is calling YOU to do that day to serve God, and strive to be holy.
Face reality. Walk in the truth. Let Jesus forgive and save you.