Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Don't judge men's wealth or godliness by their Sunday appearance"

“At the end of life we will not be judged by how many diplomas we have received, how much money we have made, how many great things we have done.
We will be judged by "I was hungry, and you gave me something to eat, I was naked and you clothed me. I was homeless, and you took me in.”  - Mother Teresa

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.”

Yes, we are saved by faith. But our faith must be backed up by our actions. To borrow the words from the book of James, “Faith without works is dead.” (James 2:14 – 26). The bottom line is, we still have to strive to enter heaven by living according to the precepts of the Church and allowing the grace of the Sacraments and daily prayer to permeate our lives.

Striving is not wishful thinking. It’s not a vague hope. It’s not something we take care of in our spare time. No, striving to enter heaven should be the top priority of our lives. It’s what we “seek first” above everything else (Matthew 6:33).

Striving has to do with contending, putting forth a great effort, even pushing through some agonizing moments. A person who strives protects every time of prayer, stays focused on Jesus during every Mass, and does everything possible to care for the poor and needy. He or she has one goal in mind: ”to enter through the narrow gate” and arrive in heaven. Nothing takes precedence over that goal.

Jesus also told his followers that heaven is not a foregone conclusion. He says, in fact, that some people will be surprised to find that they don’t sail right through the pearly gates (Luke 13:25-27). But he does promise that everyone who believes in him, follows him, and bears fruit for him will find the way. And those are hopeful words indeed.

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