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Contemplating today's Gospel

Today's Gospel + homily (in 300 words)

Sunday 21st (C) in Ordinary Time

1st Reading (Isa 66:18-21): Thus says the Lord: I know their works and their thoughts, and I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the Lord in clean vessels. Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the Lord.
Responsorial Psalm: 116
R/. Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
Praise the Lord all you nations; glorify him, all you peoples!

For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever.
2nd Reading (Heb 12:5-7.11-13): Brothers and sisters, You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: «My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges». Endure your trials as “discipline”; God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.
Versicle before the Gospel (Jn 14:6): Alleluia. I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me. Alleluia.
Gospel text (Lk 13,22-30): Jesus went through towns and villages teaching and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, «Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?». And Jesus answered, «Do your best to enter by the narrow door, for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the master of the house has got up and locked the door, you will stand outside; then you will knock at the door calling: ‘Lord, open to us’. But he will say to you: ‘I do not know where you come from’. Then you will say: ‘We ate and drank with you and you taught in our streets!’. But he will reply: ‘I don't know where you come from. Away from me all you workers of evil’. You will weep and grind your teeth when you see Abraham and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves left outside. Others will sit at table in the kingdom of God, people coming from east and west, from north and south. Some who are among the last will be the first, and others who were first will be last!».

«Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?»

Fr. Pedro IGLESIAS Martínez (Rubí, Barcelona, Spain)

Today, the Gospel raises the theme of the salvation for our souls. This is the essence of Christ’s message and the “supreme law of the Church” (in fact, this is also mentioned like that by the very Code of Canon Law). The salvation of our soul is an actual fact insofar a gift from God, but for those of us that have not yet crossed the threshold of death, is only a possibility. To be saved or to be damned to hell! That is, to accept or to reject God's everlasting offer of love.

St. Augustine said «the man who self-annihilated his goodness, which could have been eternal, deserved the eternal damnation». We have only two possibilities in our life: either God or the void, for without God nothing has any meaning. In this sense, when they do not participate of the essence of God, life, death, joy, pain, love, etc., are just concepts without any logic. When the man sins, he avoids the Creator's glance to center it upon himself. God is constantly looking at the sinner with love, and in order not to force his freedom, He expects a minimum gesture of been willing to get back to him.

«Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?» (Lk 13:23). Christ does not respond to this question. Therefore, it remained unanswered, just as it is today, for «it is an inscrutable mystery between the saintliness of God and the conscience of man. The silence of the Church is, therefore, Christians' only opportune position» (John Paul II). The Church does not state any opinion about those who dwell in hell, but —basing itself in Christ's words— it does state an opinion about its existence and the fact there will be many damned in the Final Judgment. And whoever denies this, whether clerical or lay, incurs, without further ado, in heresy.

We are free to turn the stare of our soul towards the Savior, and we are also free to stick to our refusal. Our death will simply petrify our option forever.