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Monday, August 22, 2016

Do you take your being a Christian too easy? Do you, as Jesus says, strive to enter heaven? - Daily Reflections August 21, 2016


THE “NARROW GATE ”
 
The Church is reminding us of three things in today’s Gospel passages:
    First, that heaven, salvation and eternal life exist, which Jesus describes by using the image of a banquet.
       Second, that hell exists. This is what is referred to as the “wailing and grinding of teeth” — images of the hopeless frustration that the human soul experiences when it is cut off forever from friendship with God.
       And third, that in order to make our way to heaven, we have to keep on doing our part. It is not enough to have a superficial knowledge of Christ, like the people who said, “We ate and drank in Your company and You taught in our streets.” Rather, we have to have a living, lasting and growing friendship with Christ. That is what we were created for, and that is what will lead us to true life. Since friendship always involves effort, self-sacrifice and investing one’s time and energy, the same thing goes for our friendship with Christ. Salvation comes from actually following Him, from striving to know Him better and live out His teaching.
       It is possible to be labeled a Christian on the outside without really making an effort to follow the Christian way in our hearts. It is possible to go regularly to Mass, to be involved in parish activities, and still never really enter into a committed, life-changing, personal relationship with Christ. Jesus makes us aware that going through the motions isn’t enough. We need to let His grace change our lives.
       Pope Francis said in one of his Angelus messages: “To live the faith is not to decorate life with a little religion, like a cake is decorated with a little frosting. No! It’s not that. Faith entails choosing God as a fundamental criterion of life, and God is neither meaningless nor neutral. God is love!” Fr. Rudy Horst, SVD
 
REFLECTION QUESTIONS: Do you take your being a Christian too easy? Do you, as Jesus says, strive to enter heaven?
 
Lord, thank You for this reminder. Help me to strive more consciously to follow You, especially when it is difficult. Amen.

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