Homily – August 25, 2019

Luke tells us Jesus preached in all the villages he passed through as he made his way to Jerusalem, the city in which he would be tried and condemned to the shameful and painful death of crucifixion. He encouraged the people to listen to what he had to say about God’s kingdom. He offered them the chance to be close to God, be faithful to God.

I wonder about the person who asked the question, ’Lord will only a few be saved?’ He was probably a very pious person. He might have been like the man Jesus used in his parable of the two men who went to the temple to pray. One boasted about how much he prayed and fasted and supported the temple. The other stood far back and simply prayed, ’Lord be merciful to me a sinner. Jesus tells us he went home justified.

Have you ever been asked, ‘have you been saved?’ There are people who brazenly ask that question of other people. They are convinced that unless you accept Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior you are lost, lost for all eternity. They are sure they are among the saved. But Jesus tells such people; many will come the east and the west and take their place in the kingdom of God. Outsiders will be saved.

We’re all saved by reason of the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus. The reality we celebrate at the Mass. We’ll realize our salvation when we live our lives faithful to the teaching and example of Christ. We’ll realize our salvation when we live the great commandment, love one another as I’ve loved you. We’ll realize our salvation when give thanks to God for the blessings of our lives. We’ll realize our salvation when we are open to the stranger, when we are there for brothers and sisters in need

There is a prayer before a crucifix that prays; For how many ages have you hung upon you cross and still I pass you by and regard you not…..you stretch your hands to comfort me, to lift me up and I have taken those hands which might have struck me into hell and nailed the back, rigid and helpless on the cross, -yet I have but succeeded in engraving my name on your palms forever.

The message of the prayer is we are offered the love of our crucified Christ but it is up to us to accept that love, open our lives to that love and live that love. Christ’s love is a gift but no gift can be given unilaterally. Successful gift-giving takes two: one to offer the gift, and one to receive it. If we refuse the gift God offers us, the gift cannot be successfully given.

Are we saved – yes we are – if we say yes to this awesome gift.

It is our choice as to whether or not we are left to stand outside and knock and hear those dreadful words, ‘I do not know where you come from, go away.