BY: Rev. Fr. Edward Onwueme E.



1st Rd. Isaiah 66:18 – 21,
2nd Rd. Hebrews 12:5-7.11:13;
Gospel Of Luke 13:22-30.

St. Paul tells us in 2Cor. 6:2, “This is the hour to receive God’s favour; today is the day to be saved.” One of the most beautiful gifts God gives us is time. My friends, how do we spend our time? Many have used their time doing meaningless things, when you ask them what they are doing, their answer is that they are just killing time. Jesus says in Jn 12:35, “The light is with you for a little longer. Walk while you have the light, so that the darkness may not overtake you.”
Lack of using time well for salvation was the major mistake the Israelites made. God gave them the privileges to be saved, (Ex. 12, 19, 20), but many of them abused these costly privileges. Because of the time and privileges they wasted, God punished them by sending them to the Babylon as slaves. They later asked God for apology, which was granted unto them. Today’s first reading, God settled them to their home land, Jerusalem. Thus, God decided to extend these privileges to the Gentiles, by making some of them His priests, which the Israelites considered useless ( Sirach 50:25-26). God did this to teach us a lesson, because one of the Igbo proverbs says, “Nwanyi adighi ama uru di ya bara, ganye mgbe oghoro ajadu.” God punished the Israelites in Babylon for over 70 years, because, “no evil goes unpunished” (Nahum 1:3). This punishment is what God is telling us in the second reading, “The Lord corrects everyone he loves, and punishes everyone he accepts as a son” (Heb. 12:6). For those who will not accept the corrections, the punishments God will give them are mentioned in the Gospel.

In the Gospel, Luke reports that Jesus continues His mission towards Jerusalem. Why Jerusalem? Jerusalem is significant because that is where Jesus used to go for worship, teaching, festivals, (Lk 2:41-50. Jn 7). Where He will suffer many things (Matt 17:21-23), and be rejected by the elders and chief priests, and scribes, and killed, and on the third day be raised (Lk 9:22), etc. As He is going towards Jerusalem, someone from the crowd asked Him, “Lord, will those who are saved be few?” The members of the Jehovah’s witness have confused themselves with this kind of question, which they have given many people the wrong interpretation of Rev. 7:1-8. The answer to this very question is difficult. This is because many Jews at this time believed that simply being Jewish, was enough to be saved. They boast that, “Abraham is our father” (Jn 8:39). Jesus told them plainly that, “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (Jn 3:3). Being a Jew was not enough to enter the kingdom of God. Repentance is necessary (Lk 13:3). Jesus teaches the Jews as He teaches us today, for one to be saved, he must, “deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me” (Lk 9:23). He must be willing to “lose his life for my sake” (Lk 9:4). These sayings sound very difficult. Jesus’ answer to this question is Yes! Because many will seek to enter and not be able. Perhaps, for you to enter, you must follow the only authentic Way, which is Jesus. In 1 Tim 2:5, St Paul says, “there is one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ.” Peter preached that, “Salvation is found in no one else, except in Jesus, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Jesus Himself says, ‘I am the Way!… No one comes to the Father, except through Me”(Jn 14:6).

The door is narrow, but it is open. You have to strive. The main focus of this reflection, is, “Strive to enter through the narrow door.” You have to make efforts. In Phil. 2:12 says: “… Work out your salvation with fear and trembling.” To strive, does not mean, you should fight someone, but you should resist sins (Rom. 6:1-13), and the wrong ways of salvation, and to trust completely in Jesus for salvation. Perhaps, God says as David records in PS 118:20, that, “This is the gate of the Lord; only the righteous can come in.” So, only the just will be able to pass through this narrow door.
Remember, Jesus says that the door will not remain open. Once the door is shut, like that of the case of the five foolish virgins in Matt 25:1-13, it will not be opened again. So, the message is, we have to enter through it now while it is open than waiting for later, because, once it is closed we can’t be saved. Jesus will be the one to close the door. They will plead and say we ate with you and heard you teach. These people may be those five thousand people whom He fed (Jn 6:1-13), and hearing Him teach. Many of them were those who confessed that we have not heard anyone teach like this. Jesus will tell them, depart from me, you did not use your time well. Jesus was referring to those rebellious Pharisees who have many means to gain the salvation, but did not submit to Jesus.

Child of God, it is good to understand that what denied many of the Jews salvation is because of pride. For them, they are the people to decide who will go to heaven (Lk 18:10-14). We have many of them here. The proud politicians, Knights, the leaders of CWO, CMO, CYON, etc, you can challenge the priests as you want, because you have Bishop’s phone number. Because you built the Church, hall, and feed the priests, you can tell them on what to do. That is nonsense. I wish to tell you, that if you are doing anything in the Church for people to see and praise you, know that you are a Pharisaic man. The Bishops, President, Governors, even the Pope may know you and praise you, but God will never know you. What a disappointment?
The Igbo proverbs would say, “Okuko siri na obughi naani Onwu Ike o na anwu na ewute ya, kama o bu na emechakwaa umuntakiri atakwaa isi ya.” What will pain the rebellious Pharisees will not only be that they will lose heaven, but seeing gentiles, harlots, murderers, etc, in the heaven with Abraham, just like the rich man ‘Davis’ Saw Lazarus at the bosom of Abraham (Lk 16).
Jesus concluded in Lk 13:30, that “the first shall be the last, and the last shall be the first.”

My dearest, today is the only the time we have, we are not sure for tomorrow (prov. 27:1). Let us not be like: Easu (Gen 27), Davis (Lk 16), Judas (Matt 26,27), Jezebel, Saul (1 Sam 14-15), the rich man in Matt 19:16-30, etc, who did not use their time for salvation well. Rather, let us be like, Joseph, the good thief (Lk 23:40-43), Lazarus (Lk 16), Jacob (Gen. 27, 32:26-28), Zacchaeus, the prodigal son, etc. Who used their little time well. This is our own time, let us try and use it well. Don’t rejoice yet, till we reach there.

One of the America Sociologists says, “there are three surprises you will see on the last day: those you think will be there, will not be there, those you think will not be there will be there, you will be surprise that himself will be there.”

May God give us the grace to strive to enter heaven through the narrow door, so that our efforts will not be in vain, through Christ our Lord, Amen.

Happy Twentieth Sunday To You!
I Wish You God’s Blessings!

Rev. Fr. Edward Onwueme E.

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