Sir, Only a Few People Saved?

Missionary Weekly Reflection
Twenty first Sunday of Ordinary Time, 25 August 2019
Isa. 66:18-21; Ps. 117:1,2; Heb. 12:5-7, 11-13; Luk. 13:22-30

“Sir, only a few people saved?” The anonymous questioner represents all of our questions and worries. It is said that the Jews did often discuss and ask: Are they all saved or only “the small remainder”? Till today Jesus’ followers are often divided into two groups. Some are super confident: we are chosen and determined by God to be saved. Texts like Eph. 1:4-5 and Rom. 9:10-16 are deployed. Human’s behaviour and good deeds are not decisive, even unnecessary! Some are always doubtful. Doesn’t Jesus Himself always say: many are called, but few are chosen (Matt. 22:14)? There is always lasting tension between the choice of God and human effort!

Fortunately, Jesus did not give a direct answer. Instead of formulating a dogma, He used parable and metaphors. First, the narrow door. Jesus offered a challenge: Struggle to go through the narrow door! The word of “struggle” here is related to agony: referring to difficult and painful struggle. The life of faith is endlessly struggle, with a lot of pain and suffer, for the sake of achieving salvation. God knows that certainty often makes us naive and passive, we often claim His promise of salvation as a status which is already in our hand and proud of. Thus, Jesus affirms a continually and enduring responsibility. Do not stop struggling! The salvation means going through the narrow door, not an automatic one. The life of faith is endlessly fighting against the temptation of evil and entrusting ourselves to the Father. That is the pattern shown by Jesus in Gethsemane: in agony He kept on praying (Luk. 22:24): striving to release His will for surrendering to the Father’s plan!

Second, the closed door. God closes the door for those who misunderstand. The guests thought they could come in, only because they ever had a meal with Jesus and listened to His teachings on the streets (v. 26). They were a kind of superficial followers of Jesus. They listened to His teachings without obeying Him. They joined the thousands of people that He fed, but they never shared food with others. They were the listeners and learners of the saying, but did not live according to it. They were often complacent and felt they were the “insiders”, who know a lot about Him, or might claim that they often saw Him, etc. Jesus gave a surprise: He left this kind of people outside. He equated them same as the evil maker! God closed the door for them, but opened it for those who were considered as the “outsider” (v. 29).

Third, feast. The feast is often a symbol of salvation, when God becomes the host who opens the door and receives the deserving ones. They are the party dressed guests who arrive at His time. They manage to enter through the narrow door: endure the daily struggle and suffering of life. They not only participate in the Eucharist, but also share daily bread. They not only preach God’s Saying, but are also changed and change the world by that Saying.

(Hortensio Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society, Jakarta)

DAILY DEDICATED PRAYER

Lord, our Father, I present my today prayer, thought, word, work, joy and sorrow in the unity with Your Son, Jesus Christ, who always presents Himself in the Eucharist for the world salvation. May the Holy Spirit, as the soul of Jesus, also lead and give me the strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.

Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus and the Church, I specially present my prayer to our Pope and Indonesian Church prayer apostles of this month:

For Evangelization intention:

Family as the school of humanity development: May, with the life of prayer and love, the families are more enabled to become the schools of true humanity, being lived and developed. We pray…

For Indonesian Church intention:

Inter-religious harmony: May, in establishing the harmony between religious communities, the Catholics are enabled to see the kindness and sincerity from other religious communities. We pray

Special intention:

May the people in our diocese in faith and national loyalty, inflame nasionalism with wisdom in the village and in the places of activity in the community. We pray….

Amen

 

 

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