Date: Sunday, August 25, 2019
I enjoy “Pickles” -- not out of jar but the cartoon. The comic strip tells the adventures and misadventures of Earl & Opal (elderly couple), Nelson (their grandson), Roscoe (the dog) and Muffin (the cat). A week ago, Earl and the dog return from a walk and find themselves locked outside with no key. Roscoe enters the house through the “doggie door” and when Earl tries to get through the same entrance, he gets stuck.
In our Gospel today, someone asks Jesus: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus does not answer the question directly but says: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Salvation is always God’s gift. We do not gain nor achieve nor deserve salivation as if it is something we can accomplish ourselves. But Jesus does say that we should “strive” to pass through the narrow gate. “Discipleship requires conscious effort. It is not enough to notice Jesus as he passes by; one must be willing to sacrifice everything to go where the teacher leads.” (Michael Simone, SJ, The Word, America) The “narrow gate” is the Gospel with its call to faith, to generosity, to forgiveness, to justice and compassion, especially for the poor.
When the door is locked, and we stand knocking and crying: “open the door”! The master of the house will reply: “I do not know you.” We must ask ourselves: Does Jesus know me? Do I know Jesus? If we can say Jesus knows us and we know Jesus and we are straining to live the Gospel not only will we be welcome at the heavenly banquet, but we will become “a light” for others to follow. Our faith and struggle continue Christ’s work of salvation.