God wants us all to make it
God wants us all to make it home
Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. Someone asked him, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" He answered them, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, 'Lord, open the door for us.' He will say to you in reply, 'I do not know where you are from. And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!' And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last."
God wants us all to make it home
Ernest Shackelton led an early expedition to the South Pole. His hope was to be the first to reach the South Pole. He missed this first when Roald Amundsen led an expedition in 1911 to the South Pole. Then, it became Shackelton’s goal to cross the Antarctic. He led a group of men and dogs on the ship called the Endurance.
January 18, 1915, the Endurance became trapped in the ice. The dream of crossing the Antarctic slipped away, as Shackleton’s new goal became to get everyone back home. They decided to winter on the ship. 10 months later, they had to abandon ship and set up camp on the ice. 25 days later, the ship would be claimed by the sea.
Ice floes moved the camp towards Clarence and Elephant Island until they launched out on the lifeboats on April 9, 1916. April 15, they arrived at Elephant Island. They were treading solid ground for the first time in 497 days.
They were still not rescued. Shackleton gathered up a small group and headed 800 miles to a whaling station on South Georgia island. 16 days later, they finally found help and returned to rescue the rest of the crew marooned on Elephant Island. All the officers and crew had been saved. They were all able to make it home. Shackelton had made it his life mission to bring his men home.
God wants us all to make it home. In today’s Gospel, Jesus tells us to strive to enter through the narrow gate.
Will only a few be saved?
Many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. Will only a few people be saved? What should be our attitude as Catholics toward the theme of salvation?
First off, let’s look at God’s attitude toward salvation. We find it in the Creed. “For us men and for our salvation, he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man.” God wants to save us. Just as Ernest Shackelton never gave up in his endeavor to save the men of his crew, God never gives up on us. He is willing to do the possible and the impossible to save us from eternal damnation.
Secondly, we know as Catholics that salvation is not a sure thing.
According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. (Pope Benedict XVI, Spe Salvi, 1)
Thus, in today’s Gospel, we hear the exhortation of Jesus to strive to enter through the narrow gate. He wants us to put the best of ourselves into seeking salvation. It may be arduous, but it is possible. God wants us to have hope. The fundamental attitude of a Catholic towards salvation is hope.
his leads us to the third aspect to consider, that as Catholics we are called to a great hope in salvation. There are so many false redeemers and false saviors in our modern world. We are afraid of destitution, of poverty, and of loneliness. The world offers many substitutes for redemption, promising guarantees against destitution, poverty, and loneliness, but they are always a lie. Hope in Jesus Christ ensures against the vicissitudes of life.
Keep trying! It’s worth it!
Strive to enter through the narrow gate! Yes, but not as if we are frightened children afraid of a cruel father. Rather, we should be rushing through the gate as if we are entering Disneyland, looking forward to all the marvelous creations waiting for us. Heaven is infinitely better than Disneyland, and God wants us to make it home.