21st Sunday Year C
Let’s us help each other enter through the narrow gate
Our first reading today is from the final part of Isaiah’s prophesy when God promises a new heaven and a new earth. This was God’s promise to save his people from slavery in Babylon and lead them to a new stage in their life when they would share in his glory: “they shall come and see my glory”. This promise was fulfilled when God brought his people back to their land and gave them a new beginning. The reading tells us that when God brings people to a new stage in their lives, he has one intention: To glorify them and to make life better for them.
Beloved in Christ, this prophecy was not meant only for the people of Israel. It is also meant for you and me, people who believe in God through his son, Jesus Christ. New students, returning students, new and old resident parishioners, God is renewing his promise to you. Today we begin a new school year as a parish. God has brought us to a new stage in our lives. Everything new brings joy but can also bring worries and anxieties. Parents are worried about whether or not their children are going to be fine at school. Students and staff may be worried about how this new school year is going to be. God wants to remind you that he has brought you to this new stage of your life to glorify you; to make life better for you; so you will be fine.
Beloved, there is one thing about God’s promise that we need to keep in mind. God’s promises come true only when human beings allow him to lead them. In our first reading, the people of old experienced the “new” thing God promised (return to their home land) because they allowed God to lead them. God made the way but they had to walk through it in order for God’s promises to come true. They listened to God. That is the point of our second reading and the gospel. St Paul reminds us that if God’s promises for our lives this year will come true we need discipline. That is what St. Paul means by “make straight paths for your feet”. Jesus tells us in the gospel that God has an open door for all his sons and daughters. He wants to bless our lives and make our lives better not only for this year but for all eternity (How cool is that!). However, he reminds us that for this promise to come true, we need to walk through the narrow gate.
Beloved, the parable of the narrow gate reminds us that there are some things in life that we need to leave behind. There are also other things that are essential. These we need to bring along in order to experience God’s promises. You and I know that at times it is not easy to know what to leave behind and what to take along. That is why we need the church to guide us. We need each other. I need you to help me know what I must leave behind and what to take along so that God’s promises for my life this year will come true. You also need somebody to help you discern things that you need to leave behind and things you must take along. I have found small groups to be a blessing in my life. So I want to suggest that, as a parish, we form small groups this year to help each other attain God’s promises for our lives. Get together with three our four people at the parish and read scriptures and pray together so that we will help each other walk through the narrow gate. We are one people; a community that God has called together at this point in time because each one of us has some gifts that can help this community walk through the narrow gate. God is ready to fulfill his promises. Are you ready to walk through the narrow gate? Are you ready to help somebody walk through the narrow gate?