Fr. Yader Francisco Centeno Jerez
Ordinary Time – Cycle C
August 21, 2022
THE DANGER OF TRUSTING
The prophet Isaiah arrives to destroy the trust and inertia that often turned into passivity in the people of Israel, and correct their schemes. It proclaims that God is not as they have thought, nor are they relating to the rest of the peoples at God's pleasure. That God has the project to bring together people of all races, nations and languages, even of other beliefs and to consecrate priests and prophets from among them. That is to say: that they have neither the exclusive nor the guarantee of anything, and that if any consequence should derive from their religious convictions, it would be to work for the good of ALL PEOPLE, to stop making exclusions according to their "religious" criteria and " nationalists" and be careful lest they "be left out" of God's plan and promises.
That credulous "confidence" is behind the question they put to Jesus: "Will there be few who are saved?" It is a question that hardly anyone asks today. We are so worried and busy about living in the present, about our well-being, about the issues that newspapers and magazines bring us... that "salvation" sounds like a word from another time.
Regarding the number of those who are saved, Jesus does not answer directly. But he does talk about "how" in a way that we don't find very pleasant: He talks about "effort" and "narrowness." Nor is it pleasant for us -2nd reading- that God corrects us. We do not like those words of the Gospel: "I do not know you, I do not know who you are, stay away from me", despite the fact that we have eaten at his table, we have heard a thousand preachings, we know the doctrines and orientations of holy mother Church, and we even have some commitment with someone, or in some humanitarian institution...
Jesus tells us that the path to salvation, or to happiness, or to a worthwhile life, has to do with effort, sacrifice, and hardship. He does not tell us if they will be few, although in another place he affirms that "many are invited, but few are chosen" (Mt 22, 14). But it does invite us to look at ourselves and ask ourselves: How fresh, how alive, how active is our faith, our experience of God? It is true that the path of prayer, of the study of the Scriptures, the path of justice, of forgiveness, of welcoming someone who is not one of us... has many difficulties. But that is precisely the narrow gate I have to go through. Or in other words of Jesus: «I am the door: whoever enters through me will be saved and will be able to go in and out, and will find pasture» (Jn 10, 10).
Have a good Sunday, everyone!