Saturday, August 20, 2016

8-21-2016 -- 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C

Aug. 21, 2016 - 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C
Saint Martin de Tours Catholic Church

The narrow door quickly becomes the locked door, and those who thought they should be inside find themselves standing outside.

Do you feel the urgency here? Time is of the essence. The message: get in before it’s too late.

Those who don’t make it in are further shocked to find that the owner of the house says he doesn’t know who they are or where they are from.

This is perplexing. Why are some turned away while others are not? Let’s speculate:

Perhaps some are seeking to enter through the wrong door. Maybe they are standing at another door when they should be trying to get through the narrow door.

What might that look like in our lives? We see something earthly that attracts our attention and we strive to attain it. Maybe it’s a new car or a bigger house or the latest iphone or the prettiest girlfriend or the jock boyfriend or the trophy wife or the highest paying job.

But Jesus says strive to enter the narrow door. The word strive implies a great deal of effort. Olympic gold medal winners invest a great deal of time and energy and effort in winning. They do not win by accident. It is the result of deliberate, sustained effort.

Do we strive to get to know Jesus and enter the narrow door to his home? Do we make a deliberate, sustained effort to practice our faith?

Perhaps some lack the faith or the courage or the strength they need to enter through the narrow door. The wide open door looks so appealing that they just can’t help themselves.

Having passed through the wide door, one finds a room full of trouble and sin and temptation and death. But at the outset it looked so attractive. That is the allure of evil, its ability to masquerade as something very attractive .

There are times in our lives when we walk through the wrong door or travel down the wrong path. Eventually we come to our senses and recognize the mistake.

Now, having recognized the error of our ways, we can either continue down the wrong path or strive to correct the error. It takes effort. We must strive to change, not half-hearted or go-with-the-flow. No, we must repent. And there must be a sense of urgency. Otherwise the door will be slammed shut.

Perhaps some have not done enough good works to unlock the locked door. Maybe the key to unlocking the door is acting with charity, kindness, mercy and forgiveness. These good works have the ability to open doors that were previously closed.

The letter to the Hebrews calls us to strengthen our drooping hands and our weak knees and do what is good and right and just. With all the recent flooding, the opportunities to do good works are endless because the need is so great.

We are challenged to keep striving to enter through the narrow door because only a few will find their way inside. Many will get lost and will be shocked to find the narrow door closed and locked.

At that point they will find themselves in the darkness where there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Wailing and gnashing of teeth doesn’t sound like a particularly pleasant experience. Being locked out in the dark doesn’t either.

That is why this gospel demands our attention. We cannot assume that Jesus knows us just because we know Jesus. We must strive to enter through the narrow door that leads to him.

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