Friday, August 23, 2013
Trust, yes; frivolity, no
Buenas Noticias: Blog de Jose Antonio Pagola
August 25, 2013
Modern society is imposing more and more strongly a lifestyle marked by the pragmatism of the immediate. There's barely any interest in the great questions of existence. We no longer have firm certainties or deep convictions. Little by little, we are being converted into trivial beings, laden with cliches, with no inner consistency or ideals that inspire our daily life beyond momentary well-being and security.
It's very significant to observe the general attitude of quite a few Christians towards the question of "eternal salvation" that was of so much concern just a few years ago. Many have wiped it without further ado from their consciences. Some -- we don't know exactly why -- feel entitled to a "happy ending." Others don't want to remember religious experiences that have caused them much harm.
According to Luke's account, a stranger asks Jesus a frequent question in that religious society, "Will only a few people be saved?". Jesus doesn't answer his question directly. He's not interested in speculating about these sorts of empty questions so beloved by some masters of the period. He goes directly to what's essential and decisive: how are we to act so as not to be excluded from the salvation that God offers to everyone?
"Strive to enter through the narrow gate." These are his first words. God opens the door to eternal life to all of us, but we have to strive and work to enter through it. That is the healthy attitude. Trust in God, yes; frivolity, carelessness, and false security, no.
Jesus stresses, above all, not deceiving ourselves with false security. It's not enough to belong to the people of Israel; it's not enough to have personally met Jesus on the roads of Galilee. What matters is coming into the Kingdom of God and His righteousness from now on. In fact, those who are left out of the final banquet are, literally, "those who practice injustice."
Jesus invites us to trust and responsibility. The patriarchs and prophets of Israel won't be the only ones sitting at the final banquet of the Kingdom of God. Pagans coming from every corner of the world will also be there. Being in or being out depends on how each one responds to the salvation that God offers everyone.
Jesus ends with a proverb that sums up his message. With respect to the Kingdom of God, "the last shall be first, and the first shall be last." His warning is clear. Some who feel sure of being admitted might remain outside. Others who appear to be excluded beforehand could be inside.