August 21, 2022 – 21st Sunday in Ordinary Time
Click here for the readings (https://bible.usccb.org/bible/readings/082122.cfm)
In a dream, once an old lady found herself at the heaven’s door. Confidently she knocks at the door and demands admittance. And she heard God’s loud voice asking, “who are you?” She then replied, “My Gosh, You don’t know me. I am most influential person in our town. I am the mother of our town’s mayor. I have been known for my generosity, an elder of the church’s lay organization and have sponsored the education of your seminarians and ordination of your priests. I even spearheaded the construction of your cathedral in our town”. God replied, “Sorry, I don’t know you”. Angry and disgusted with God, she just stayed outside, grumbling at the doorsteps, while seeing others being admitted inside. Coming to her senses, she once again knocks at the door and now requests for admittance. She said, “Lord, actually, my life has been a failure. I am separated from my husband. My children have been involved with a lot of questionable activities. I have been an oppressive landlord, abusive lady and known gambler. I am a sinner and have caused other’s to sin. I am sorry, Lord”. God replied, “But still I don’t know you, who are you?” Confused and ashamed of herself, she again stayed outside and pondered who she really is before God. Then something dawned in her that made her stand, knocks at the door and humbly admits “Now I know who I am, Lord. Regardless of what happened to me in life, I am still your beloved child.” The door then opened widely and God’s voice joyfully proclaimed “Welcome back, my daughter. Come in.”
Along our desire to explore life, there is always a deep longing for us to be at home, and be reunited home. Even for those who have already settled in foreign lands, there is always the strong desire to come back home. Same way with those who have settled abroad, there is always a desire to go back homeland – Bohol, Siquijor, Cebu or Luzon.
Jesus has always preached to us the kingdom of God is our heavenly home, and the Reign of God’s Kingdom is like homecoming and reunion. Like a fiesta, salvation is the moment where everyone is joyfully welcome and celebrating in God’s Kingdom – the occasion where and when we are at home and re-united with God. Particularly in our gospel today, when asked about who are saved, Jesus emphasizes that salvation is not for the few but for everyone – everyone is welcome in God’s kingdom.
However, in our journey back to our heavenly home, Jesus directs us to strive and be strong enough to enter through the narrow gate. What Jesus meant here is that in life, we must realize that we are just but pilgrims and migrants in this life that we have now. We are here but not from here. As we live & journey with the life we have now, we must do our best to be more at ease and at home with our identity as God’s children.
For Him, welcomed, saved and redeemed are those who are at Home with their identity as a Child of God. Meaning, it is not what we have done and achieved in life, or even what happened to us in life, but who we are before Him, as His children that matters most. Welcome and Worthy are we of eternal life in God’s kingdom when we are strong and discipline enough to accept and be at home with our identity as God’s Children. As Henry Nouwen would say, “We are not what we do, we are not what we have, we are not others think of us. Coming home is claiming the truth that – I am the beloved child of God.”
Remember what Jesus said: “the last will be first, first will be last”. Those we consider to be first in life may perhaps be the last one to realize and accept their identity; and those we consider to be last-lost-least in life maybe the first one to realize and accept their identity as Children of God. Question now and still remains, is : “now who am I, who are you before God?…….
As our recent experiences of the challenges of Covid pandemic times do make us realize & think of death, life, & meaning of all these things, we pray then that we may consistently be & becoming more worthy beloved children of God in faith & life now & always. So May It be. Amen.