Weekly Missionary Reflection
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, 21 August 2022
Isa. 66:18-21; Ps. 117:1,2,; Heb. 12:5-7,11-13; Luk. 13:22-30
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?” The anonymous asker represents all of our questions and concerns. The Jews often had discussions and asked the same question: will they all be saved, or only “a few”? Till now the followers of Jesus are divided into two groups. Some are overconfident: all of us have been chosen and determined by the Lord to be saved. The verses like Eph. 1:4-5 and Rom. 9:10-16 are used as the proof texts. Human behavior and good deeds are not important, they are even not necessary! Some are always doubtful. Didn’t Jesus say: Many are invited, but only few will be chosen (Mat. 22:14)? There will always be never-ending tension between the Lord’s election and human’s deeds!
Fortunately Jesus didn’t give a direct answer. Instead of making a dogma, He used parable and metaphor. First, is the narrow door. Jesus challenged us by saying: Strive to enter through the narrow door! The word “strive” here relates to the Greek word “agony”: referring to the difficult and painful struggling. The life of faith is a constant struggle with much pain and suffering, to achieve salvation. The Lord knows that certainty will make us naive and passive. His promise of salvation is often claimed as the status that has belonged to us and can be proud of. Therefore, Jesus underscores the continuous and enduring human responsibility. Do not stop striving! Salvation is entering through a narrow door, not an automatic gate. Living in faith is continuously striving against the devil and trusting in God. That is the pattern that Jesus showed in Gethsemane, as He experience the agony Himself (Luk. 22:42): struggling to give up His will for surrendering to God’s plan!
Second, the closed door. The Lord closes the door to those who misunderstand Him. The guests thought they could enter, only because they ever ate and drank with Jesus and listened to His teaching in the streets (v. 26). These are the shallow followers of Jesus. They just listen to His teaching without performing it. They join in the mass of thousand people that Jesus gives food, but they never give food to their neighbors. They listen and learn the Words, but do not live according to the Words. They are lulled and think they “belong to” the followers of Jesus, know a lot about Him, maybe they also claim that they often see Him, etc. Jesus gives a surprise: He casts out those kinds of people. Jesus considers them the evildoers! Jesus closes the door for them, but He opens the door for those who are treated as the “outsiders” (v. 29).
Third, feast. The feast is sometimes taken as the symbol of salvation when the Lord becomes the master of the house, who opens the door and receives the deserved ones. They are the guests dressed in party clothes, who arrive on His time. They have made entering through the narrow door: endure in struggling and pain in their lives. They do not only join the Eucharist but also share the daily food. They do not only proclaim His Words but are also transformed and transform the World by His Words.
(Hortensius Mandaru – Indonesia Bible Society)
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 salvation of the world. May the Holy Spirit animating Jesus, also be my guidance and strength today so that I am ready to be the witness of Your love.
Together with St. Mary, Mother of Jesus, and the Church, in particular, I present my prayer for our Pope and apostle prayer of the Indonesian Church this month:
For the purpose of Universal Churches: Small and medium-scale of business
We pray for the small and medium scale of businesses. In the midst of economic and social crises, may they find a way to continue their business and serve the community.
For the purpose of Indonesian Churches intention: Trusted means for distribution of donation
We pray for the community groups to be able to create a trusted means to distribute the virtue and donation from the good-hearted people to the needs.