Saturday, August 21, 2010

Who can be saved? (Sunday homily)

The big question in the Gospel was,
“can only a few be saved?”

Notice the Lord’s response:
He doesn’t say how many can, or even will be, saved.
Rather, he focuses on how to be saved:
“strive to enter by the narrow gate!”

After all, the Lord describes people
from “east and west.”
Does that sound like “only a few” will be saved?

You see, the Lord’s answer is, however many are saved—
and it may be a huge number—
they will only be saved through “the narrow gate.”

So what is the “narrow gate”?
The narrow gate is Christ himself.

We might wonder, what does this mean
for people who aren’t Catholic, or aren’t Christian?

The answer is,
Jesus Christ acts in the world to save people;
his primary way of acting is through the Catholic Church.
He founded it, he guides it with the Holy Spirit—
which is not easy; yet Christ is the head of his Church.

So, what about other Christians?
Some are closer to the fullness of the Gospel,
some are farther away.
The same for other religions: they have some light,
but not the fullness of what Christ has given.

Now, can we be saved even with a tiny bit of light?
Yes, it’s possible—but it’s not a method I’d recommend.
Personally, I need all the light I can get.

Realize also, just because you have more light,
doesn’t mean you have it any easier.
On the contrary—we’ll have more to answer for.

Some get a morsel—and respond gratefully;
Others get a banquet—and take it for granted.

Jesus Christ is the “narrow” gate.
That means that while he’s wide enough for all to enter—
but to enter, we must give up everything else.

For some, it may be possessions and wealth.
But for others, it may be a way of life;
it can be alcohol or drugs; pleasure or ambition.

For every one of us, there is something we grasp tightly,
that will not pass through the narrow gate.

Notice what those outside say:
“We ate and drank in your company
and you taught in our streets.”
But they did not say that they listened and obeyed.
This warning is aimed at us, his followers.

How many are present when the Lord teaches—
but don’t listen, don’t really change?

How many “eat and drink” the holy Eucharist
without being all that interested in the Lord himself?

Receiving the Eucharist is the moment of approaching,
and entering, the narrow gate!

Imagine the sacred host,
the Body of Christ, is the “gate”: how big is that host?
There is just room enough
for our will to surrender, and pass through.

I know some hear a message like this, and are fearful.
As if Jesus didn’t want to save us!

The answer is not fear, but trust.
The fearful person focuses on oneself: “Can I be saved?”
The trusting person focuses on Christ:
“Lord, you love me, and you will help me change.
I put my trust in you.”


Marco de Puna said...

What an incredibly beautiful and challenging sermon. Many thanks Father.

Anna A said...

Thank you for this sermon.

PS I'm glad that you are able to spend a bit more time blogging.