Nineteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time: “Walking in Narrow Pathways”

August 25, 2019

 

Isaiah 66:18-21

Psalm 46

Hebrews 12:25-29

Luke 13:22-30

 

Today is the day of the Lord’s favor.  We are grateful that God is with us even though sometimes circumstances are not perfect.  We are grateful that we can trust in the Lord our God.  Scriptures says to count it all joy when we fall into various trials and temptations.  Even if things look like they are not going to according to our expectations, it doesn’t mean everything is going to go apart because we have a God who’s got our backs.  

 

From the reading, God wants to communicate to us this principle:  let us not neglect the opportunities which God’s favor provides.  Because of His favor, we always get another chance.  A minister named Richard Roberts, the son of the famous Oral Roberts, did some mistakes when he was young and got divorced.  He thought that it might be the end of his ministry because he may be bringing shame to his father.  One day, he repented before God for bringing shame to his father and to God.  He received a prophecy from someone that God is not finished with him.  Even though we made mistakes, the grace of God does not stop.  Even though we fail the mercy of God does not dissipate.  God used Richard in such a way that he was able to bring the healing power of God to his generation.  His father could heal by the laying of hands, but Richard was healing in a way that he will receive a word of knowledge that someone’s sick in one area and if that person would acknowledge it, that person would be healed.   His ministry began to prosper that he was able to write a book entitled “He is the God of the Second Chance.”    

 

We may have failed in our second chance but God has given us another chance.  His favor never ever stops. There is always an opportunity that God gives to us because of His favor and His grace.  St. Paul said, “I did not receive the grace of God in vain.”   We want to be able to take advantage of this favor, of this blessing, and of this opportunity that the grace of God has given unto us. 

 

Today’s first reading says that the invitation of God was for all the nations.  He does not exclude anyone; He includes everyone.  His grace, His favor, His blessing and His calling is for everyone.  In the second reading, it tells us not to neglect the word that comes to us because some neglected, thus, they were not able to escape whatever it was that was detrimental to them.    Everyone is invited and for us to be able to walk in what God said, we need to be able to put into practice the Word of God in our lives. 

 

Scriptures says that from the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks, and God has spoken to us His heart.  He says, “The plans that I have for you are plans not of evil but plans that will give you hope.” Plans that will give us a future.  Plans that will fulfil God’s divine destiny for us.   We were not born because we were an accident.  We are here and from the moment we were born, the plan of God has been given to us.  It is up to us to take hold of this plan and make it also a part of our lives.

 

In the gospel, we find the Lord Jesus Christ taking somebody’s question and teaching us a truth of the kingdom of God.  It says, “And He went to the cities and the villages teaching, and journeying toward Jerusalem, and one said to him, “Lord, are there a few who are saved?”   This question is answerable by “yes” or “no”.   It is not as simple as this because the Lord answers the question as if the question was, “How do we continue in the way of being saved or what should our attitude be now that salvation has been freely given to us?”

 

Jesus says, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able.” The word “strive” comes from the Greek word to mean: to agonize. Somehow, it doesn’t seem to jibe with the word grace. With grace, God makes things easy for us.  With the favor of God, He empowers us to do something that normally we would not be able to do.  He gives us the help from heaven; He gives us the power; He gives us the ability.  We’ve got the Father’s love.  Our Father will continue to love us unconditionally.  It was because of this love that He planned this great thing for us. We know that man sinned, and because of this, he was ejected from the Garden.

 

The door was closed, but it was not fine that it would remain in this state of affairs of a Father who loves us and who created these things for us that we might enjoy them. Thus, God sent His beloved Son, the second Person of the Trinity that lived the life that we were supposed to live.  Then, He suffered the punishment that we were supposed to suffer.  He took the pain of our punishment so that we no longer have to take it.  He set us free, and by doing so, that door that was being slammed against us was open once again.   

 

All we had to do is to have faith in Him and walk through the door.  The moment we walked in, we were showered by so much blessings that we don’t even know what to do with them.  The sins that kept us back from God are suddenly gone.  Scriptures says that our lawless deeds He will remember no more.  Some of the people that remembered our transgressions might still remember them to this day, but God does not! How can God forget something?  But He has chosen to forget.   We might say, “Lord, remember the sin that I committed last week?”  Then He will look at us and say, “Honestly, I don’t know what you are talking about.”  The sins were not merely covered; they were deleted! They were erased and they do not exist anymore.  They only exist in our mind and probably, they exist only in the notebook of the enemy who tries to remind us so that we would be placed in such a heavy guilt.