August 26,2007 21th Sunday of Year C

Scripture: Isaiah 66:18-21
Luke 13:22-30

God loves all people as His children - all, without exception. Some people are called by God to know that love. Such a call is a great privilege. But let us note well that this definitely does not make Christians on elite group. Jesus was strongly against such thinking! The Bible uses the words "called" and "chosen" in a unique way. We are called or chosen by God to serve others. We are not better than others.

For me personally, living in Japan where less than 1% are Christians, has given me a realization of just how wonderful is God's call to faith. Faith puts meaning and taste in my everyday life. To have a God who says to me: "Fear not, I am with you" is a marvelous support. It gives me hope.
So to all who are gifted with faith I suggest this biblically based programme:-
(1) reflect on how gifted you are, and thank God for faith. Gratitude acknowledges that each of us has not earned faith, but that it is a sheer gift of God.
(2) express that gratitude by giving time to God in prayer. Prayer is relaxing in God's companionship.
(3) express that gratitude by sharing the joy of faith with others. This means, according to the circumstances, a word of praise or encouragement, an act of thoughtful kindness, a warm smile, and at times forgiveness etc.
This is what it means to "enter by the narrow gate" - it takes humility, or putting aside one's own favorite agenda.
The selfish and proud people go to the wide gate thinking that they are the elite, that they have a right to the big entrance! No!!

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