Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

      I always love it that Jesus rarely answers someone’s question in a direct way. Take for example today’s Gospel. Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”   He answered them, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. (Lk 13:23-24) The Greek verb agōnizomai, “strive,” is used to describe athletic training. Just as an athlete must gradually build up strength through daily disciplined exercise, so spiritual fitness takes consistent effort and training. Jesus notes that many who attempt to enter will not be strong enough.

So my question to you, and myself, is “What is your daily spiritual workout?”

  1. Do you find at least one dedicated time each day to sit and invite the Lord to touch your heart and invite you to give voice to your prayers for the day and the coming days?
  2. Do you express gratitude to God for the things God has done for you, to actually name those things so that God knows that you know what they are, rather than to offer just a ‘Thank you, God, for all the things you’ve done for me today!’ ?
  3. Do you ask God for forgiveness for wrongs that you have done, either by doing something that has harmed you (body, mind, spirit) or harmed another directly or by simply not responding to someone’s real need when  you were able to?
  4. Do you ask God for a particular gift you might need that day: wisdom, courage, knowledge, understanding, deliverance from temptation, a greater appreciation for the beauty in creation and in other people, just to name a few?
  5. Do you express your trust in God, your love of God, your desire to learn more and more about God’s desire and dream for you?
  6. Do you take time to reflect on Scripture or the particular scriptures of the day (which you can find at www.usccb.org,) or on the App iBreviary, or on the coming Sunday’s readings (always referenced on the back of the bulletin each week)?
  7. Do you have a prayer partner with whom you can spiritually exercise together?

Jesus reminds us that we cannot simply be a one time a week  pray-er, or just be fulfilling an obligation, or just be a spiritual bystander, admiring Jesus and his teachings from a distance and not working on our relationship with Him. “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.’ And you will say, ‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’ Then he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me.’ (Luke 13:25)

      This is our choice: Get in the spiritual game or be a spectator? Connect ourselves more deeply to Christ every day on the path to eternal life with Him and our loved ones, or be left out in the heat.

Gentle peace! Fr. Larry