Carry the gospel with you

Posted in christian, Christianity, inspirational, religion, scripture by Mike on August 25, 2013

Gospel reading of the day:

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 92d19c83ea04046051490a025607455e_w600and 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.”

Reflection on the gospel reading: The question of what happens to us when we die occurs to all of us. The Christian answer has always been that we ultimately wind up in heaven or hell. There has been a certain reluctance in some Christian communities to speak of hell, and many very thoughtful believers have denied it exists. The question that makes an obstacle for most Christians who deny hell is how a loving God could condemn a soul to misery for eternity. I think I would be in this camp, except that the idea of hell is something that Jesus repeatedly mentions throughout the gospels. Jesus taught there is a hell and that people go there.

The great Jesuit theologian Karl Rahner, who died in 1983, proposed the idea that when we die, we sum up our existence before God. In the moment of death, we have decided who we are and what we are in relationship to God. Rahner taught that God does not judge and condemn us but rather, at the moment of death, invites us to come. It is we who decide whether or not to do that. If our lives have left us open to the invitation, we go to God; if our lives have been a series of rejections of intimacy with God, then God respects our freedom to not come. The gospel passage today starts with the question, “How many will be saved?” Because Jesus says people will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south, perhaps his answer was essentially, “Many will be saved.”

Spiritual reading: If we want to be spiritual, then, let us first of all live our lives. Let us not fear the responsibilities and the inevitable distractions of the work appointed for us by the will of God. Let us embrace reality and thus find ourselves immersed in the life-giving will and wisdom of God which surrounds us everywhere. (Thomas Merton)

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