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The Narrow Gate

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In Scripture, Jesus is asked, who will be saved--a question that is brought to his attention several times. Let’s face it, we too want to know if we will be in heaven and who will be with us. Which family members or friends will be at the table in the Kingdom of Heaven?

Jesus reminds us to strive to enter through the narrow gate. Historically, Jesus tells us that the camel will enter the narrow gate easier than a rich man enters heaven. The camel had to lay on the ground and crawl carefully through the narrow entrance. It was uncomfortable for the camel to do this. We are challenged to strive to give ourselves wholeheartedly to Christ. The demands of discipleship often asking us to move out of our comfort zone. There may be pain and suffering in following Jesus, but His grace is always there to sustain us.

 How is God challenging you today to follow Jesus?

The Image of God

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I am sure you have seen the people who stand near the freeway ramps with various signs saying, “Homeless,” or “hungry,” or even, “I’m a vet.”

I know many times I see these people and wonder, “What’s their story?” Sadly, in my cynicism, I simply drive past, or to make things more uncomfortable for me, I have to stop at the light, and I do everything in my power not to make eye contact!

Often when I see them, I think of the story of the Good Samaritan. In the gospel, when Jesus is asked, “Who is my neighbor?” He goes on to tell the story of the man who was robbed and left critically injured.

So, who is MY neighbor? Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor in theory should be easy, but it is often very difficult.

This gospel is perhaps a wake-up call for me to reflect on who is my neighbor.

  • Is it the elderly person struggling in the supermarket that I could help?
  • Is it the driver I let merge into my lane in traffic?
  • Is it the person walking down street who I nod or smile at when I pass?
  • Is it the person with the sign near the freeway?

Am I loving them as myself? Am I seeing them as the image of God in which they were created?

Some interesting and weighty questions.  Who’s YOUR neighbor?

A New Commandment

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Mandatum Novum—a new commandment.

This gospel passage, “I give you a new commandment, ” is one of my favorites.  The passage follows Jesus’ washing the disciples’ feet on the night before Jesus died. Jesus, no doubt full of anguish, because he knew he was about to be betrayed and of his impending passion, gives them his last words of advice before taking up the cross. With all of the “stuff” our Lord has going on, he still has his mission to fulfill. Within moments, Judas will betray him. In a few short hours, Peter will deny him—not once, but three times! Yet, the Lord shows us yet another example of humility by washing feet.

We all have a mission to fulfill, and we all have “stuff” going on in our lives. The reading and re-reading of this passage gives me cause to think of how I am responding to everyday events in my life. Today is a good day for all of us to evaluate how the Lord’s new commandment is relevant in our lives.

Lord, grant us your humility, that even in our daily trials, to see the opportunities to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters. Let your Mandatum Novum be our Novus Via Vitae—new way of life.

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