The main message of the preaching of Jesus is that God loves us. All his messages, all his actions speak to us of a God who loves. He cared for the people who were like sheep without a shepherd. He fed the hungry, he forgave sins, he simply loved.
The “narrow door” to God is difficult to enter: it is the way of limitless love, unconditional forgiveness, sacrificial selflessness; it can only be entered by letting go of our control, our pride, our self-absorption, our cynicism. But Jesus promises that anyone willing to struggle through the “narrow door” will be welcomed into the eternal dwelling place of his Father.
Jesus turns over old expectations of what pure and noble religion is. This king is born in a Bethlehem stable, not a Jerusalem palace. This king enters Jerusalem on a donkey, not a chariot pulled by horses. This king finally claims his throne hanging on a cross. It may not look like some people’s idea of God, but in faith we trust this is the Kingdom of God.
Saints Simon and Jude –
All of us are called in some way to be apostles, followers of Jesus. We are sent with each new day to be his presence. Are there times when we make it difficult for others to see Jesus in us? We are called to be his ambassadors. How do we represent him through the course of a day?
Thirtieth Sunday in Ordinary Time –
The Pharisee and the Publican come to the temple to pray. How ironic that the one man falsely judges his brother to be a great sinner and is himself condemned by Jesus, while the other man who claims to be a sinner is himself highly praised by Jesus.
We do not have too much space to criticize the people of that first century. The blessings of life are a matter of gift, gifts from God which, in turn, we share with others. Blessings are given to us that we might enjoy them but also that we might use them in service to and for others. With every blessing and privilege, there is a responsibility.
Are we aware of the presence or the absence of God in our midst? When we observe injustice in the business arena, we are called upon to speak out. When we see despair in the lives of others, we are challenged to provide some measure of comfort. When we encounter those weak in their faith, we must feel compelled to share the gospel message to some degree. Are we tuned in to the presence or absence of God and what are we doing about it?
St. Anthony Mary Claret –
Let us never forget the real Jesus Christ, the one who said “Do not let your hearts be troubled” also said, “I have come to light a fire on the earth; I have come for division.” If we walk with him, part of our journey will be through the fire. He is the disturbing Christ. He is the loving Christ. He challenges us to a more profound way of life. One that is not superficial. We are either for him or against him. The choice is ours.
St. John of Capistrano –
My friends we can become so smug as individuals and as community. And in our smugness we can become so self-centered and begin to think that everyone should walk in our footsteps. We become so engrossed in proclaiming ourselves and our rights and our privileges rather than proclaiming Jesus to the world.
St. John Paul II –
Traditions are good, and we should enjoy the sense of continuity they bring to our lives. But we also need to seek out newness and change, because this is where God lives. “Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide.” Jaroslav Pelikan