21st Sunday C – Road to Salvation
Will there be only a few saved? The question rumbles in the backs of our minds. Being saved is being transformed into Christ, the lifelong process of surrendering to his invitation to follow him. Transformation starts here (at baptism) and is complete in the hereafter. The road to heaven is a rocky one. Jesus warns about doors locked and narrow, and voices saying we are unknown and unwelcome – all underscoring our need to take purposefully Jesus’ call to ‘repentance’.
C.S. Lewis, in his masterpiece on heaven and hell, The Great Divorce, has a fantasy of someone in heaven who is trying to coax people not there to come to heaven. Each person seeking entrance is blocked by some major flaw: pride, greed, lust, anger etc. In each case, irrespective of the flaw, the voice from heaven keeps telling the other “All you have to do is give me your hand and let me lead you there. All you have to do is surrender.” The journey of surrender is about allowing the Spirit of God to lead us – Galatians 5: 22-23.
Surrender is about spiritual growth and development through life and getting in touch with our limitations and helplessness, especially in the second half and latter part of life. Age brings us to our knees, and everything we have built up in our active years tends to mean less and less. Contentment sets in and is accompanied by a new and deep kind of peace and gratitude. These qualities come to us as a gift rather than as something we have striven for and created for ourselves.
I remember a person who was in rented accommodation and had to leave, and was faced with the trauma of nowhere to go. One day she paused and prayed over the words of Jesus “Do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink….Is not life more than food and the body more than clothing!” – Matt 6: 25-34; Phil 4: 6-7. The words spoke directly to her as if saying: The God who made you will not abandon you. Trust him. Worry evaporated and was replaced by a peace and serenity she never thought possible.
Fr. QQ – 08/17/2022