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." (Luke 13:22-30)
Introductory Prayer: I believe in you, my God. You called me into existence from nothingness and carefully watch over me. You have even numbered the hairs of my head. I trust in your infinite goodness, and I abandon into your loving hands my fears, my hopes, my needs, my desires, everything. I love you, Lord, and wish to love you with all my mind, heart, soul and strength.
Petition: I shall not fear for my salvation, but grow in confidence in you, my God.
1. Salvation: A Numbers Racket? We never stop asking the question the person in the Gospel asked Jesus. If we don’t achieve eternal life, nothing else we have attained in life matters. Jesus does not give the answer we might want to hear: that many are saved, and salvation is a sure and simple thing to reach. Instead, he warns us against presumption in this matter. As Saint Paul later said, “Work out your salvation in fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). It is something we need to take with the utmost seriousness. Every day we need to pray for the grace to persevere to the end. We need to live each day with the perspective that it could be our last. We need to go back to the venerable tradition of praying for a “happy death.”
2. Narrow Gates: When Jesus speaks of the narrow gate, he is saying that salvation is not a birthright or something guaranteed. It depends on our active cooperation with his grace -- the real effort to love God and follow his will. “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). Jesus warned that not everyone who cries out, “Lord, Lord…” will enter the kingdom of heaven, but those who do the will of his Father in heaven. Obedience to God’s will is the best assurance we can have of our salvation. What is there in my life that is not in accord with his will?
3. Judge Not… We might also be surprised that those from “the east and the west” will enter the kingdom before many others. We might be surprised at those who are saved. Salvation is not a privilege of a race or a chosen people. It is a matter of how we respond in freedom to grace and the invitation of the Lord to a certain way of life. We shouldn’t give in to judging where others stand; we should only attend to our own soul. Are we at peace with God in our conscience? Can we be sure we are objective about our own situation in God’s eyes? Our conscience should be clear, and we should make sure we are serene and have peace of soul. If we find there is something between us and God’s will, we should go to confession and pray for the grace to change.
Conversation with Christ: Lord, give me the grace to know your will and the discernment to know if there is anything in my soul that is keeping me from you. Help me to overcome any obstacle, so that I may be one with you and that your will may be my guide every day.
Resolution: I will make frequent confession a habit and every day examine my conscience to seek union and peace with the Lord.