Oct 8, 2007

Strive to enter by the narrow gate

The narrow gate

August 26, 2007, 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year C - Pope Benedict XVI

Today's liturgy presents to us enlightening yet at the same time disconcerting words of Christ.

On his last journey to Jerusalem someone asked him: "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And Jesus answered: "Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able" (Lk 13: 23-24).

What does this "narrow door" mean? Why do many not succeed in entering through it? Is it a way reserved for only a few of the chosen?

Indeed, at close examination this way of reasoning by those who were conversing with Jesus is always timely: the temptation to interpret religious practice as a source of privileges or security is always lying in wait.

Actually, Christ's message goes in exactly the opposite direction: everyone may enter life, but the door is "narrow" for all. We are not privileged. The passage to eternal life is open to all, but it is "narrow" because it is demanding: it requires commitment, self-denial and the mortification of one's selfishness.

Once again, as on recent Sundays, the Gospel invites us to think about the future which awaits us and for which we must prepare during our earthly pilgrimage.

Salvation, which Jesus brought with his death and Resurrection, is universal. He is the One Redeemer and invites everyone to the banquet of immortal life; but on one and the same condition: that of striving to follow and imitate him, taking up one's cross as he did, and devoting one's life to serving the brethren. This condition for entering heavenly life is consequently one and universal.

In the Gospel, Jesus recalls further that it is not on the basis of presumed privileges that we will be judged but according to our actions. The "workers of iniquity" will find themselves shut out, whereas all who have done good and sought justice at the cost of sacrifices will be welcomed.

Thus, it will not suffice to declare that we are "friends" of Christ, boasting of false merits: "We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets" (Lk 13: 26).

True friendship with Jesus is expressed in the way of life: it is expressed with goodness of heart, with humility, meekness and mercy, love for justice and truth, a sincere and honest commitment to peace and reconciliation.

We might say that this is the "identity card" that qualifies us as his real "friends"; this is the "passport" that will give us access to eternal life.

Dear brothers and sisters, if we too want to pass through the narrow door, we must work to be little, that is, humble of heart like Jesus, like Mary his Mother and our Mother. She was the first, following her Son, to take the way of the cross and she was taken up to heaven in glory, an event we commemorated a few days ago. The Christian people invoke her as "Ianua Coeli", gate of heaven. Let us ask her to guide us in our daily decisions on the road that leads to the "gate of heaven".

2 comments :

Marie Tremblay said...

We must choose between the narrow gate and the wide easy road. That is always our choice. Pete Majoy has organized the following:

Pete Majoy
10/17/2007 5:50:36 PM
Update 3: Holocaust Course in Richmond, N.H.
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1. I am happy to announce that Mr. Tom White, Educational Outreach Coordinator at the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies at Keene State College, has also agreed to be the presenter at our first class on October 30.

2. Time Change: the second class originally scheduled for Wednesday, November 14, 2007 will now be the next evening, Thursday, November 15, 2007.

3. Registration so far: we have 15 people registered for the course. Room for 5 more. Maximum registration is limited to 20.
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Here's the full description including the updates:

THOU SHALT NOT BE A VICTIM. THOU SHALT NOT BE A PERPETRATOR. ABOVE ALL,THOU SHALT NOT BE A BYSTANDER. (HOLOCAUST MUSEUM-WASHINGTON, D.C.)

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In Richmond, New Hampshire, LEARN ABOUT THE HOLOCAUST.
DON’T STAND BY WHEN INTOLERANCE INJECTS HATRED INTO A COMMUNITY. NEVER AGAIN.

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October 30, 2007, November 15, 2007, November 28, 2007, January 16, 2008, February 20, 2008, and March 19, 2008 from 7 to 9 P.M.-----Friendship Lodge at Camp Takodah, Richmond, N.H. Limited to 20 participants. Registration fee is $9 (Cost of book, Night, by Elie Wiesel). Guest speakers from Keene State’s Cohen Center for Holocaust and Genocidal Studies. Course organized and given by Richmond resident, Pete Majoy.

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1. October 30, 2007 ---- The rise of anti-semitism culminating in the NAZI Third Reich policy of extermination as the “Final Solution” to the “Jewish Question”. Guest presenter: Mr. Tome White, Outreach Coordinator at the Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies, Keene State College.

2. November 15, 2007---- Journal sharing from the first class. Background and discussion of Night by Elie Wiesel.

3. November 28, 2007 ---- Journal sharing. Focus will be on Holocaust survivors. Holocaust survivor, Thomas Weisshaus, has agreed to speak. Mr. Weisshaus was rescued in Budapest by Raoul Wallenberg.

4. January 16, 2008 ---- Journal sharing. Second and final discussion of Elie Wiesel’s Night. Video of Oprah and Elie walking through Auschwitz.

5. February 20, 2008 ---- Journal sharing. Focus on the phenomenon of Holocaust Denial. Tom White, Educational Outreach Coordinator at Keene State's Cohen Center for Holocaust Studies will be our guest presenter. The court case involving Holocaust denier, David Irving, will be included in the presentation. Excerpts from Deborah Lipstadt’s great book exposing Holocaust denial,
Denying the Holocaust, will be made available.

6. March 19, 2008 ----- Journal sharing and or bring a letter addressed to Elie Wiesel. We will summarize the course and end with a focus on genocides since
the Holocaust.

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Registration--Three choices: (1) Call Pete Majoy at 239-6058; (2) Write Pete Majoy at 49 Morgan Road, Richmond NH 03470; (3) E-mail to pwmjoy@earthlink.net.$9 registration fee due night of first class on October 30, 2007. Thanks.

Please consider attending this course if you live in or near the Monadnock area. And watch Chronicle for a special piece on anti-Semitism in Richmond, New Hampshire. Mary Richardson interviewed Paul Melanson for this story which should air this month sometime.

Lee said...

Marie...I hope to be there. Here's the Chronicle link:

http://www.thebostonchannel.
com/chronicle/14376818/detail.
html