Luke’s gospel (13:22) today continues to invite us into the Kingdom of God. Our hearts, lives, attitudes and priorities are all challenged to remain focused on God’s Kingdom. We are to let go of our grasp of everything on this earth that keeps us from such a witness to God.
Jesus said, ”Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but not be strong enough…” This image of the narrow gate is the person of Christ. The cross of Jesus is the path to the Kingdom of God. In some ways, it is not that we must be strong enough, but weak enough or vulnerable enough, to find Jesus in our lives.
What does it mean to be “strong enough”? Our lives today are incredibly complicated. We send our children off to school and wonder how we will pay for their education. We move an aging parent across the country to live here in Colorado to be close to us, then we worry how the relationship will turn out. We worry about our country’s national elections and the future of our values and family life. We are concerned about keeping our jobs, our health, and the fact that our children do not seem to believe in God anymore.
The strength that Jesus is inviting us into is a life dedicated to prayer, love, and mercy no matter our worries and concerns. This strength is better defined as prayerful vulnerability, openness, and a trust in the presence of Jesus in our world. We cannot control the outcomes of many situations today, but we can become a holy and wise people. The peace, tranquility, and love that we are looking for can be manifest within our lives and the lives of our families. We live this mystery through an attitude of openness and gratitude, a new trust that God heals our hearts, forgives our misdeeds, and transforms our outlooks to become followers of Jesus Christ.
Some questions and suggestions for this week:
As we send our children back to school, I invite every parishioner to pray for our next generation. I invite you to pray for our nation on our journey toward Election Day. Join others, strangers and friends, to pray, not with bitterness about a potential outcome, but with an openness and love and trust in God’s fidelity. Pray and do not be cynical.
Pray for our elderly in our community, folks who have given their lives to our parish. Pray for the vulnerable, the weak, and people facing ill health. We all can learn from this vulnerable posture of prayer and concern.
“For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” What does this mean for you?