21 thg 8, 2016

Homily for Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time—C (Aug 21, 2016)


The Narrow Door
21st Sunday of C
My dear brothers and sisters,
The Gospel text of today begins with the words, “Through towns and villages he went teaching, making his way to Jerusalem” (Lk 13:22). The major part of the Gospel of Luke is a portrayal of the journey of Jesus from Galilee to Jerusalem. A man asked Jesus this crucial question: “Sir, will there be only a few saved?” (Lk 13:23).  It is very similar to the question asked by many Catholics today: “Is there salvation outside the Church?” The question reflected the belief of many Jews in Jesus' time, they alone were God's 'Chosen People.' For them that meant, on the one hand, that 'gentiles' and 'unbelievers,' people who did not observe the Law of Moses, were outcasts to be rejected by God forever. The salvation of God's People, however, was virtually guaranteed, provided they kept the Law.
But Jesus didn't choose to answer the question directly. Instead he took this simple question – and used it to teach his followers about salvation; He invited us to be ready for surprises.  But one thing is important: be ready to enter through the narrow door. The narrowness of the door is stressed to express the reality that it is not made for crowds. Salvation is a personal and individual endeavor. Having once accepted Jesus' invitation, each one has to live by his teachings every moment of every day. Those who do not remain faithful to him will be left outside. We trust that salvation is for all, salvation is a gift from a God which must be willingly and fully embraced; but it involves the hard work of collaborating with the grace of God day in and day out, until the last day of our lives. It cannot be taken for granted. It is a task and a mission.
The First Reading of today from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah presents us with the teaching that the salvation of God is extended to all the nations of the earth and it is our task to 'proclaim his glory among nations,' inviting all to the Kingdom of God. The important question is how can we enter into the Kingdom?” Are we ready to accept God’s Kingdom in our life?

 The gospel of today simply invites us to “welcome the Kingdom of God like a little child” – to enter through the narrow door we have to make ourselves like little children. Let us be challenged by the Word of God today, and be strengthened by the Eucharist, to be able to enter through the narrow door, so that we have life – eternal life! Amen

Fr. Joseph Pham, O.P.

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