Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them, “Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’
Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’ But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out.
Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
As a kid in Catholic grade school, I remember hearing this “first shall be last” passage in class. For the rest of the day, classmates would fight for the last place in our single-file line, responding to Jesus’ words quite literally.
Now praying with this Scripture as an adult, and in the context of the whole passage, it doesn’t seem so simple. In fact, the weeping and gnashing of teeth even induce a little anxiety – enough to lead me to evaluate how I’m living my life.
Today’s Gospel shakes away complacency, turns logic upside-down, and invites us into something deeper. Jesus calls us to stay alert and active in our prayer life and in our service to God and others, in order to strive for eternal life with God in Heaven.
How can we receive today’s Gospel with childlike simplicity, allowing for a deeper response to our life in God? Does our life praise, honor and serve God?
—Amy Ketner is the Coordinator of Hispanic/Latino Ministry at St. Mary Student Parish in Ann Arbor, MI.
Dear God, the goal of our life is to live with You forever.
You, who love us, gave us life. Our own response of love allows Your life to flow into us without limit….everything has the potential of calling forth in us a deeper response to our life in You.
Our only desire and our one choice should be this: I want and I choose what better leads to You deepening Your life in me. Amen.
—St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation, prayer adaptation by Amy KetnerPlease share the Good Word with your friends!