The Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time
Advertising campaigns often play on our desire to be “in” on things… to be the first to try the latest gadget, the latest model, the hottest trend. “Don’t miss out…” and “Be among the first to try…” are great attention-getters that have us thinking all the time, “I just have to have it!” Jesus is sending that same message about the urgency of accepting what he offers as the path to heaven. “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” To be a follower of Jesus requires not only desire but strength and tenacity, the ability to persevere through the trials, struggles, and obstacles—the “narrow gates” we encounter each day in the form of temptations and difficult choices for or against the way of Jesus. The risk is to miss out altogether on the blessings that come with being close to Jesus. The ultimate blessing is eternal life in heaven, which we can only dream about, but there are blessings each day as we walk with the Lord. Missing out on those only makes the day-to-day more difficult. I believe without the hope that faith in Jesus affords I would be less purposeful and without a clear destination, and that is not something I would desire. So I choose Christ, I choose to strive for the narrow gate, knowing that with my own limitations the Lord himself will help me along the way, sometimes with a gentle nudge to encourage me, sometimes to pull me along… and I am grateful for it!
As we begin the final week of August (and “the 10 best days of summer”, i.e., the Maryland State Fair and the worst traffic ever on York Road!), all signs point to the start of a new school year. This Monday we welcome back our faculty as they begin their meetings and final preparation for the new school year. Let us pray for all teachers and students as they begin anew the work of learning, that God’s gift of wisdom may open minds and hearts.