The question Who can be saved? has been persistent among many religious people throughout history even up to today. It plagued the Israelites right down to the time of Jesus. We hear that question repeated in today’s Gospel, but Jesus never really answers the question.
Instead, He tells a story of a group of people who were confident that they had reserved places at a banquet – but didn’t. They believed they had a claim on the master and deceived themselves into thinking that the master would recognize them and welcome them because they ate and drank with Him.
Were they ever surprised and disappointed! None of them and none of us has fullness of life with God sewed up neatly once and for all.
Three things, it seems, are required of anyone who wants to live, really live, fully in this life and beyond.
(1) Faithful love.
(2) The willingness to serve our cantankerous brothers, sisters and neighbors.
(3) The self-discipline which permits us to do both.
These three things make up the narrow door that Jesus speaks of today. Of these three, the hardest to achieve and least palatable is personal discipline. We don’t like the sound of the word “discipline.” Discipline is work – arduous and sometimes painful, yet, deep within us, we know that every worthwhile human endeavor requires discipline.
The second reading today from Paul is really an encouragement to self-discipline for a person who wants to win the race – achieve an end.
You and I demand quality and a high level of expertise from airline pilots, surgeons, tax experts, chefs and athletes – the list is long. Why should we think we can be any less disciplined in our own lives and in particular, our lives of faith?
For love and service to be genuine and long-lived, we need to choose the narrow way, and apply ourselves to whatever we are capable of for the sake of the Gospel. Only then will our world be satisfied of its hunger, comforted of its sorrow, healed of its diseases and where people at last can live together in peace.
The narrow way. Making our way through the eye of the needle. These are the way of salvation for all who would be saved.
-Sister Joan Sobala