Twenty-first Sunday, C
Sir, will there be only a few saved?
Today’s 1st reading presents us with the teaching that the salvation of God is extended to all the nations of the earth and it is our task to 'proclaim his glory,' (c.f., Is 66:19) inviting all to the Kingdom of God. And although salvation is offered for all, not all will succeed (c.f., Lk 13:24).
Often the hard sayings of Jesus are ignored. Although heaven is offered to all, Jesus’ Blood was poured out for many, for the forgiveness of sins. Of course these are the words of consecration, instructing us that those who do not receive forgiveness remain eternally separated from God.
Dear brothers and sisters, it is not God who holds back his unfathomable mercy, it is those who cannot understand their need of God’s mercy and reject it, who come to separate themselves from God. This is terrifying: “Lord we once ate and drank in your company ...I do not know where you come from, away from me.” This ‘place’ of darkness within an unrepentant heart is not compatible with the Spirit of God’s kingdom.
This is very sobering for us who approach the Eucharist. Cleary canon law states we have to be properly disposed (Canon 915) to receive communion otherwise we eat and drink judgment upon ourselves (1 Cor 11:27-29).
Of course Jesus wants us to be properly disposed and to come to communion. “Try your best to enter by the narrow door” (Lk 13:24) is his exhortation to us. Salvation is not easy. It comes with a price. It comes with struggle and pain. God chastises all his children as “suffering is part of your training” (Heb 12:7). Another way of saying this is God prunes or cuts away what is not of his kingdom, and these sorts of painful trials are a healthy sign. And as we grow and recognise our need of mercy, sacramental reconciliation is essential to navigating this narrow path.
And when we come to the Lord and receive communion with trust the graces we receive from our Lord our beyond what we could imagine. I’ll finish with a beautiful story from the diary of Sr Faustina Kowalska:
(149) All night long, I was preparing to receive Holy Communion, since I could not sleep because of physical suffering. My soul was flooded with love and repentance.
After Holy Communion, I heard these words:- You see what you are of yourself, but do not be frightened at this. If I were to reveal to you the whole misery that you are, you would die of terror. However, be aware of what you are. Because you are such great misery, I have revealed to you the whole ocean of My mercy. I seek and desire souls like yours, but they are few. Your great trust in Me forces Me to continuously grant you graces. You have great and incomprehensible rights over My Heart, for you are a daughter of complete trust. You would not have been able to bear the magnitude of the love which I have for you if I had revealed it to you fully here on earth. I often give you a glimpse of it, but know that this is only an exceptional grace from Me. My love and mercy knows no bounds.