God’s salvation is offered freely, not imposed

October 30, 2019 Wednesday – 30th Week in OT

A reading from the Letter of Paul to the Romans (8:26-30)

Brothers and sisters:
The Spirit comes to the aid of our weakness;
for we do not know how to pray as we ought,
but the Spirit himself intercedes with inexpressible groanings.
And the one who searches hearts
knows what is the intention of the Spirit,
because he intercedes for the holy ones 
according to God’s will.

We know that all things work for good for those who love God,
who are called according to his purpose.
For those he foreknew he also predestined
to be conformed to the image of his Son,
so that he might be the firstborn
among many brothers.  
And those he predestined he also called;
and those he called he also justified;
and those he justified he also glorified.

A reading from the Holy Gospel according to Luke (13:22-30)

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them, 
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.’
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the Kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”


“Lord, will only a few people be saved?” someone asked Jesus. Indeed, the path that Jesus was taking seemed too difficult for this man. This was the reason why he asked the Lord about this. 

Jesus’ way was totally different from the trend at that time. People believed in a God who is so far away, too powerful and almighty. Yet, Jesus presented a God who is so close with the people. The people believed in an untouchable God who burdens them with so many laws to follow. Yet, Jesus introduced to them a God who heals the broken-hearted, who favored the poor and the despised. The people believed in vengeance, punishment and violence against the wicked and sinners. However, Jesus taught forgiveness and mercy, reconciliation and peace. Their world taught them that they should be above others, to be rich, famous and powerful. But then, Jesus remained humble and poor, simple and unassuming, weak and powerless.

The Lord desires that everyone will be saved, that each of us will experience healing and peace, reconciliation and freedom. However, as it was at the time of Jesus, we continue to prevent the Lord in saving us. Our tendency to advance our desires and interests first at the expense of others, stops us in allowing the Lord to work in us. Selfishness and arrogance continue to hold us back from God.

However, despite this weakness in us, God never surrenders in us. St. Paul in his letter to the Romans affirms how the Spirit helps us in our weakness. St Paul even reminds us that in everything, God works for the good of those who love him. This tells us of God’s desire to make us free and to give us a blessed life. God is certainly determined in inviting and enticing us to come close to Him.

Thus, God’s salvation is offered to us freely, but not imposed on us. And so it means that salvation also requires our participation, a conscious response frm us. This makes the door of salvation “narrow” because of the commitment that it entails.

God invites us today to enter that narrow gate, which is, to enter into relationship with God and with others. It is an invitation of committing ourselves in what we believe as Christians and that is, that God is a God of salvation, of love, of forgiveness and of mercy.

Today, let us show and express confidently our commitment to God by listening attentively to His voice in the scriptures, in our sacraments, in our culture, in our current events and with those who are suffering in many ways in our community. Hopefully, this will lead us to respond to God’s invitation by becoming his instruments of salvation for our brothers and sisters and of the rest of God’s creation.  Hinaut pa.

Jom Baring, CSsR


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