Sunday, August 25, 2013

Today's Mass Readings - Sunday, August 25, 2013 with Reflection

1ST READING - Isaiah 66:18-21
18 Thus says the Lord: I know their works and their thoughts, and I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. 19 I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. 20 They shall bring all your brothers and sisters from all the nations as an offering to the Lord, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the Lord, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the Lord in clean vessels. 21 Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the Lord.
P S A L M - Psalm 117:1, 2
R: Go out to all the world and tell the Good News.
1 Praise the Lord, all you nations; glorify him, all you peoples! (R) 2 For steadfast is his kindness toward us, and the fidelity of the Lord endures forever. (R)
2ND READING - Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13
5 Brothers and sisters, You have forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as children: “My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; 6 for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges.” 7 Endure your trials as “discipline;” God treats you as sons. For what “son” is there whom his father does not discipline? 11 At the time, all discipline seems a cause not for joy but for  pain, yet later it brings the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who are trained by it. 12 So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. 13 Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be disjointed but healed.
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me.
Luke 13:22-30
22 Jesus passed through towns and villages, teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem. 23 Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” He answered them, 24 “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. 25 After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door, then will you stand outside knocking and saying, ‘Lord, open the door for us.’ He will say to you in reply, ‘I do not know where you are from.’ 26 And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ 27 Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’ 28 And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourselves cast out. 29 And people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south and will recline at table in the kingdom of God. 30 For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”



“Are you saved?” This is a question that other sects often ask. I do not know how people usually answer the question. These sects believe that guaranteeing salvation is their foremost concern. And they are on the right track. However, in the Gospel today, Jesus was asked a different question. On His way to Jerusalem, someone asked Him, “Lord, is it true that few people will be saved?”

       I encourage you to reflect on this question. The concern is more on one’s chances of attaining salvation. So what if many or few will be saved? If many will be saved, would it change the situation? If few will be saved, how much change will there be? The problem with the question is its focus on chance. If the Lord said that many will be saved, we are more confident of attaining it. If our chances are slim, then we have a lot to worry about.

       If you notice, Jesus did not answer the question; rather, He ignored it. He stressed the need to do everything in our capacity to attain it. He said that many will try to enter God’s Kingdom but will not be able to or will find great difficulty in doing so. The key here is not about chances or the stringent requirements of the Kingdom. If we know God, He wants us all to be saved. It was Jesus’ marching order. Jesus said that Himself, “While I was with them, I was keeping them in Your name which You have given me; and I guarded them and not one perished, but the son of perdition; that Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12).

       But Jesus was being honest in that it would not be easy to be saved. We have to contend with a lot of temptations and challenges in life and faith. The teachings of Jesus will lead us to the Way, the Truth and the Life. Outside and against Jesus’ Word, salvation cannot be attained, no matter how many or few will be saved. Therefore, the right question is not about whether a few or many will be saved, but how one can be saved. Knowing that, and having the will to apply them, and actually doing them, guarantee one’s salvation. This is the sure way to salvation. Fr. Benny Tuazon
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Are you still more concerned if you’ll be saved? Why not focus on doing what Jesus said will lead you to heaven?
Lord Jesus, help me to have a perfect change of heart so that I will focus only on things that will make me attain heaven.

 St. Louis of France, pray for us.

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