Gospel: Finding that narrow gate is not as easy at it seems. The wider gate is much easier to find and enter. What does it take to find and enter the narrow gate? Please see homily and readings below.
Potluck: Our next potluck will be August 29, 2010, i.e. the last Sunday of a month with 31 days in it. Come and join us for a little fellowship and good food after Mass. All are welcome and invited. Bring a dish is not required to attend, so do not be shy!
Prayers: A lot happened while I have been gone. I have been reading up on the Stevens Crash and have been praying for those involved. Please continue to pray for them and for all aviators and their passengers who fly. Saint Theresa is the patron saint for aviation safety.
Mass in North Carolina: Eric (the friend who invited me to the Catholic Church in 1985 when I was a protestant) took a picture of me standing outside the Saint Theresa in Wrightsville Beach, NC (Sunday August 8th, 2010). Pat Walsh’s brother Kevin, who visited Holy Rosary in Dillingham a couple weeks ago, goes to this church
Fun in North Carolina: Eric and I drove out along the beach after Mass on Sunday August 16.
Beach Altar Server: A seagull guards the entrance to the seashore near Carolina Beach.
Have a great week and see you the end of August...Fr. Scott
21 Ord C 2010 Gate Is 66:18-21, Heb 12:5-13; Luke 13:22-30
The Air Force sent me to Iceland for a year. In Iceland all the sheep freely roam the island. There are no fences. At the end of the year, all the shepherds get together on their horses and round up the sheep. The sheep are divided up. Each owner receives an equal number.
In order to divide them, they have to drive them through a narrow gate into a corral. The shepherds whoop and holler to get them through. The might even kick a sheep to keep it going. The sheep bock, bleat loudly, and struggle to avoid going through the gate. After the sheep are divided up, their wool is shaved. The Icelanders make beautiful wool sweaters, hats, and gloves. Then the sheep are set free for another year.
Finding the narrow gate does not mean to take the easy route. It does not always mean doing the popular thing or doing what everyone else is doing. The easy way is normally the wide gate.
We can choose to go through the wide gate, which is easy, or the narrow gate, which is a bit tougher and involves some self-sacrifice and suffering.
The Icelandic sheep sacrificed a few hours of roaming free time to be shaved of their wool. The wool helped the community. The sheep did not have a choice to go threw the narrow gate…but we do. Jesus gives us a choice.
This is how Jesus drives us through the narrow gate: He teaches us about Disciplined self-sacrifice and suffering.
So, Self-Sacrifice means something like this: exercising regularly, so that we can feel better about ourselves, which will in turn enable us to be better ministers, resulting in a more united church. Prioritizing “going to Mass over everything else in our lives.” It might mean giving up a couple hours a week to volunteer your time to the church. Disciplined Sacrifice is a long term giving of ourselves for the good of the church. It will light up the path leading to the narrow gate like the yellow brick road.
The Icelandic sheep were afraid and suffered during the roundup. For us, many things cause us to suffer when approaching the narrow gate. Suffering comes from struggling with issues like wanting something, but not really needing it; loosing a job, feeling like an outcast at work or school, or never having enough money to cover all of the bills.
Suffering is like a seed. A seed, when planted, has to rot first, before growing and bearing fruit. Suffering is a necessary decay or decomposition in each of us. It must take place so a more perfect and complete work might be born. Suffering separates us from self in order to give ourselves to another.
Through suffering, we learn to love effectively; we find God in a more intimate way. That closer relationship with God helps us to find the narrow gate.
The gospel gives us hope and advice for finding the narrow gate. Luke’s account of the narrow gate gives this advice, “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.” Loving others and being last involves suffering and sacrificing. Those approaching the Narrow Gate know how to love and let others love them. They realize that submitting to the discipline of the Narrow gate leads to eternal life.
Just who will be saved? Jesus does not speculate about who will be saved. He commands us, “Strive to enter the narrow gate.” Don’t focus on who will be saved, but on the discipline of the narrow gate. It is the struggle of resisting the wide gate that leads us into the narrow one.
If we choose to run with the crowd through the wide gate, Jesus is standing there like an aircraft marshal, whooping and hollering, corralling us toward the narrow gate. If we are stumbling toward the narrow gate, Jesus is encouraging us forward with open arms (659 Words).
Isaiah 66: 18-21: I come to gather nations of every language; they shall come and see my glory. I will set a sign among them; from them I will send fugitives to the nations: to Tarshish, Put and Lud, Mosoch, Tubal and Javan, to the distant coastlands that have never heard of my fame, or seen my glory; and they shall proclaim my glory among the nations. They shall bring all your brethren from all the nations as an offering to the LORD, on horses and in chariots, in carts, upon mules and dromedaries, to Jerusalem, my holy mountain, says the LORD, just as the Israelites bring their offering to the house of the LORD in clean vessels. Some of these I will take as priests and Levites, says the LORD.
Hebrew 12: 5-7, 11-13: You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: "My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges." Endure your trials as "discipline"; God treats you as sons. For what "son" is there whom his father does not discipline? 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. So strengthen your drooping hands and your weak knees. Make straight paths for your feet, that what is lame may not be dislocated but healed.
Luke 13: 22-30: He 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."