Homily for the twenty-first Sunday of the year - Year C - Lk. 13:22-30
 
 
by
 
Canon Dr. Daniel Meynen
 
 
 
" Jesus went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. And some one said to him, «Lord, will those who are saved be few?»
 
" He said to them, «Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, `Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, `I do not know where you come from.' Then you will begin to say, `We ate and drank in your presence, and you taught in our streets.' But he will say, `I tell you, I do not know where you come from; depart from me, all you workers of iniquity!' There you will weep and gnash your teeth, when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves thrust out. And men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.» "
 
 
 
Homily:
 
 
" Jesus went on his way through towns and villages, teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem. And some one said to him, «Lord, will those who are saved be few?» "
 
A man went up to Jesus and asked him this question: "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" Who is this man? Saint Luke doesn't tell us; but it is probably someone who was listening to the teachings of Jesus, perhaps one of his new disciples. Yes, a man whom God's grace brought to Jesus asked this crucial question: "Lord, will those who are saved be few?" And we, who are disciples of the Lord as this man was, do we ask ourselves this question? Have we already put that question to the person charged with instructing us concerning the faith? Do we speak about it from time to time with those who are close to us?
 
The question put to Jesus is important. For if the answer was: "Yes, those who are saved will be few," then all our life would immediately take on a new perspective, one turned toward the realities of Heaven and not those of the earth. If we think that there is only a small number of men and women who will be saved, our life radically changes, because we then become conscious of the greatness of God and of our smallness. We then resolutely take the way that leads to life, and we avoid following the road that leads to hell! It is the way of life that the great Saint Paul followed, when he said: "I pummel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be rejected." (1 Cor. 9:27)
 
" He said to them, «Strive to enter by the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will seek to enter and will not be able. When once the householder has risen up and shut the door, you will begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, `Lord, open to us.' He will answer you, `I do not know where you come from.' "
 
The Teacher spoke, and he spoke the truth, because he himself is the Truth! Everything is said in this sentence: "Strive to enter by the narrow door..." In Saint Matthew, the words of the Lord are even more detailed: "Enter by the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the way is easy, that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. For the gate is narrow and the way is hard, that leads to life, and those who find it are few." (Mt. 7:13-14)
 
The Teacher speaks the Truth, and we must believe him! "Many are called, but few are chosen." (Mt. 22:14) For every hundred men or women, there won't be even fifty who will be chosen: out of every hundred men or women, there won't be fifty who will belong to the People whom God has chosen, that is to say who will belong to the Church during their terrestrial life. But, as the Church, who is born on earth, only achieves her full maturity in Heaven, out of the fifty men or women who will have belonged to the Church here on earth, fewer than twenty-five of them will enter the kingdom of Heaven. Yes, for every hundred men or women who are called, there won't be even twenty-five out of their number who will be chosen... This observation is heartbreaking when we realize the immensity of God's mercy! God is always ready to forgive, but man doesn't want to be forgiven...
 
What is this mystery that frightens us? It is the Mystery of iniquity, of which Saint Paul speaks (cf. 2 Thess. 2:7). Yes, it really is a Mystery... "Many are called, but few are chosen." (Mt. 22:14) It is a Mystery for us, but not for God, because God knows all, and there is no mystery for God. But Jesus, who is God, gave us a very particular expression of this mystery, for he lived it in his Humanity when he suffered his agony in the Garden of Gethsemane. "Father, if thou art willing, remove this cup from me!" (Lk. 22:42) What was this cup, if not the vision of the great number of men and women lost forever... Jesus was going to suffer his Passion, but those who would receive its fruits would, alas, be few! O mystery of iniquity...
 
" «Men will come from east and west, and from north and south, and sit at table in the kingdom of God. And behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.» "
 
Those who think there are chosen by God will be replaced by others, by those who believe in God's mercy and not in their own righteousness! Let us, also, entrust ourselves to God's mercy! Today, let us receive the Eucharist that saves us! May Mary help us so that our confidence in God may constantly increase, and so that we may never be lacking in this confidence, from now to the end of our life!
 

To order the weekly homily immediately, click here