HOMILY FOR THE 21ST SUNDAY IN ORDINARY TIME YEAR C
THEME: THE NARROW GATE
BY: don Justin Nzekwe
HOMILY FOR SUNDAY AUGUST 21ST 2022
As Christians, all our efforts while on earth will be useless if we do not cooperate enough with God’s grace in order to be saved. The question that someone put to Jesus in today’s gospel is very important, “Lord, are there few who are saved?” This question can also mean, “Will everyone be saved?” However, everyone is invited to the kingdom of God, but not everyone is willing to accept the invitation. How each of us spend our eternity is our own personal decision. God do not force us to accept him, he gives each of us an equal opportunity and guidelines that will enable us to be saved. But surprisingly, those who were last, will become first and those who were first will become last. This is because the journey to the kingdom of God does not tolerate those who stop making effort. God only remembers our present effort, and he forgets our sinful past any time we repent from our whole heart. It is very wrong for us to stop making effort while we are still alive just because we think we have made enough effort many years ago, and now is the time to relax. Remember, no runner in the track stops running until he crosses the finishing line. Jesus warns us in the Gospel reading of today saying: “Make an effort to enter through the narrow gate.” By asking us to enter through the narrow gate, he is telling us to prepare both physically and spiritually if we want to enter the kingdom of God. We must be ready to pass through the process of purification of our body and soul so as to be worthy of God’s kingdom. Passing through the narrow gate means going through the path of hardship, sorrows, disappointments and temptations. The narrow gate means crucifying our selfishness and the passion for sin. God is always thinking for our good, even though we may sometimes misunderstand him. He knows that we have so much to gain if we go to heaven, than what we stand to gain while on earth. And that is why he sometimes permits us to go through temporal sufferings in order to prepare us for the future glory.
The second reading from the letter to the Hebrews tells us that, “the Lord disciplines him whom he loves and he strikes whoever he recognizes as his son. It is for your correction that you suffer! God treats you as children; and what is the son who is not corrected by the father? Of course, at the moment, every correction does not seem to be a cause of joy, but of sadness; afterwards, however, he brings a fruit of peace and justice to those who have been trained through him.” God’s discipline is similar to the prescription of the Doctor, which is sometimes painful and bitter, but brings about a better result. If we allow God to purify us, God will be proud to identify us as his children. He will be willing and ready to answer us any time we call him through prayers. For it has always been the plan of God to gather all his true children to himself so that his children can experience his glory on the last day, when there will no longer be suffering, sickness, pain and death. We pray in this holy mass that God will grant us the grace to follow him with all our hearts, so that at the end of our lives, we may be privilege to be among the few who will be saved.