As he continues his final journey to Jerusalem prepared for his suffering, and death, Jesus responds to the question asking how many will be saved by answering how one is to enter into salvation and how urgent it that one strive now, before the Master closes the door. Instead of asking how many will be saved, Jesus wants us to ask ourselves, “Am I prepared to be saved, choosing the narrow gate of sacrificial agape love and so loving others as Jesus loves them”?
Scripture lessons summarized: In the first reading, Isaiah’s prophecy speaks to the Babylonian exiles returning to Jerusalem after 47 years in captivity, the younger members with their pagan wives, telling them that salvation is not a Jewish monopoly and that is why Yahweh welcomes the pagans also into Judaism. The prophet’s great book ends as it began, with a vision of all the peoples of the world streaming toward Jerusalem, acknowledging and praising the God of Israel. The Responsorial Psalm (Ps 117) refrain, “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News,” reflects the mission of God’s chosen people to be instruments of salvation to the whole world. In the second reading, exploring with his readers the consequences of Christian commitment, St. Paul explains that “the narrow gate” of Jesus means our accepting pain and suffering as the loving discipline God is giving His children.
In today’s Gospel, Jesus clearly explains that anyone who follows him through the narrow gate of sacrificial service and sharing love will be saved. Jesus also admonishes his followers to concentrate on their own salvation by self-discipline rather than to worry about the salvation of others.
The Non-Catholic doctrine on salvation was taught by Calvin and is currently broadcast by tele-evangelists: “Once saved, you are always saved,” in spite of your future sins and even apostasy. One is saved by the shed blood of Jesus when, as a young person or an adult, one accepts Jesus as Lord and Savior, confesses one’s sins and prays the “Sinner’s Prayer,” asking God’s pardon and forgiveness for one’s sins.
Catholic teaching on salvation: Salvation is a past, present ,and future event. We were saved from the Bondage of sin when we were baptized as children or adults. We are being saved at present, when we cooperate with God’s grace by loving others as Jesus did, by sharing our blessings with the needy, and by getting reconciled with God daily, asking His forgiveness for our sins. We will be eternally saved when we hear the loving invitation from Jesus, the Judge, at the moment of our death and on the day of the Last Judgment, saying: “Good and faithful servant, you were faithful in little things enter into the joy of your Master.”
We need to cooperate with God’s grace daily given to us:
1. By choosing the narrow way and the narrow gate of self-control and self-disciplining of our evil tendencies, evil habits, and addictions.
2. By loving others, seeing the face of Jesus in them, and sharing our blessings with them sacrificially.
3. By obtaining the daily Divine strength to practice self-control and sharing love through the guidance of the Holy Spirit in daily prayer, in Bible reading, and in reception of the Sacraments of Reconciliation and the Eucharist.
– Fr. Tony Kadavil