Greetings on this 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time! Please remember to pray for peace in Milwaukee and in our world, for the people of the southern United States affected by the severe flooding, and for the thousands affected by the fires in California.
"Disasters — such as the flooding currently affecting communities in Louisiana — can devastate thousands of families and forever change countless lives.
Your donation will go toward providing families and individuals who were affected by these disasters with immediate and long-term disaster relief needs. Your contribution will save lives, rebuild homes, provide shelter and supplies, and restore
Catholic Charities agencies provide critical disaster services to people of all beliefs. Agencies across the country are constantly monitoring and responding to natural disasters. They are fully prepared to assist families and individuals with shelter, food, and other immediate and long-term needs." (Catholic Charities website)
If you discern that you are called to aid Catholic Charities in their relief effort in Louisiana and elsewhere in the US, you may send a check, payable to Catholic Charities USA, to the following address:
Catholic Charities USA
P.O. Box 17066
Baltimore, MD 21297-1066
or donate online at support.catholiccharitiesusa.org
or call 1-800-919–9338.
In the gospel, Jesus is asked "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" Notice that he doesn't answer the question. “It profits us nothing to speculate on how many will be saved. What we need to know is what He tells us today—how to enter into salvation and how urgent it is to strive now, before the Master closes door" (Scott Hahn)
Jesus is "the narrow gate," the only way of salvation, the path by which all must travel to enter the Kingdom of the Father. In Jesus, God has come –as He promises in this week's First Reading—to gather nations of every language, to reveal to them His glory.
He warns his listeners, and us, not to be one of those who will lose their place at the table in heaven. Those who refuse the narrow way only weaken themselves, for, in the end, the Father will not know them.
We must always toil and labor in this life through the narrow gate, in the same way our Lord himself has, that is, the way of the Cross. He endured his Passion and Death so that we may live. The narrow way includes aiding our brothers and sisters, from "every nation and language" (c.f. Is 66)
The Letter to the Hebrews tells us that our sufferings discipline us and serve to train and strengthen our spiritual feet so that we may endure the narrow path. "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." (Hebrews 12:11)
May we who sojourn through the narrow way in this life, this "valley of tears," at long last enter the gate and take our place "at the table in the kingdom of God." (Luke 13:29)
God bless you all,
Father Robert Letona