21st Sunday Mass in Ordinary Time

Theme: Standing Firm in Entering the Narrow Gate that Leads to the Father

First Reading: Isaiah 66: 18- 21

Responsorial Psalm: Psalm 46

Second Reading: Hebrews 12: 25- 29

Gospel Reading: Luke 13: 22- 30

Homily by Fr. Erel Villanueva

Our Gospel today reminds us to be serious with our relationship with God. St. Paul said that we are to work out our salvation with fear and trembling. To work out means to live out our salvation or live as saved people. Salvation is a free gift of God by His grace and received by faith but we have to live it out day by day in our lives. It’s neither easy nor comfortable that’s why our Gospel today encouraged us to strive, with all earnest effort. Entering the narrow gate demands our commitment, determination and serious attention.

Jesus is the gate. He is the way, the truth and life. No one can come to the Father unless through Him. It means we have to enter into a relationship with Him by trusting and submitting to His Lordships His will for us is to enter and be part of His plan in His kingdom but there are lots of factors that hinder us.

First – ourselves, our unrenewed mind will always do what it wants, it will not submit to God. That causes our inner struggles. Then there’s our enemy, the devil, who will do everything to stop us in entering that gate. This is the reason why St. Paul said “I press on” because of these forces against us. He disciplines his body and mind because his goal is to win the prize, to enter that gate and experience the fullness of God’s plan here on earth and in eternity.

This Gospel reminds us also that the time is coming soon when the door will be shut. When? When Jesus comes (Day of Judgment) or when we come to Jesus (our lives end here on earth). Eventually the door will be shut and there is no more chance to enter, those who are inside are in; those who are outside are out.

Today the door is still open. We still have the chance and opportunity. Don’t delay and procrastinate, repent when you hear His voice, don’t harden your heart. By His grace, strive with all effort to enter the narrow gate. We can’t afford to be a nominal Christians or having a casual acquaintance with Jesus. Let’s be serious in our relationship with Him. It’s our choice and now is the time.

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