The following reflection is courtesy of Don Schwager (c) 2014, whose website is located at DailyScripture.net
What does the image of a door say to us about the kingdom of God? Jesus’ story about the door being shut to those who come too late suggests they had offended their host and deserved to be excluded. It was customary for teachers in Jesus’ time to close the door on tardy students and not allow them back for a whole week in order to teach them a lesson in discipline and faithfulness.
Who will be invited to enter God’s kingdom? Jesus told this story in response to the question of who will make it to heaven – to God’s kingdom of everlasting peace and eternal life. Many rabbis held that all Israel would be saved and gain entry into God’s kingdom, except for a few blatant sinners who excluded themselves! After all, they were specially chosen by God when he established a covenant relationship with them.
Jesus surprised his listeners by saying that one’s membership as a people who have entered into a covenant relationship with God does not automatically mean entry into the everlasting kingdom of God. Second, Jesus asserts that many from the Gentile (non-Jewish) nations would enter God’s kingdom. God’s invitation is open to Jew and Gentile alike. Jesus is the door to the kingdom of heaven But Jesus warns that we can be excluded if we do not strive to enter by the narrow door. What did Jesus mean by this expression? The door which Jesus had in mind was himself. I am the door; if any one enters by me, he will be saved (John 10:9). God sent his only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, to open the way for us to have full access to the throne of God grace (favor and blessing) and mercy (pardon for our sins). Through Jesus’ victory on the cross he has freed us from slavery to sin and hurtful desires and addictions, and he has made us sons and daughters of God and citizens of his heavenly kingdom. We are free now to choose which kingdom we will serve – the kingdom of truth and light ruled by God’s wisdom or the kingdom of falsehood and darkness ruled by Satan and the world system or society of people who are opposed to God and his laws.
Following the Lord requires effort and commitment on our part If we want to enter God’s kingdom and receive our full inheritance which is stored up for us in heaven, then we must follow the Lord Jesus in his way of the cross through a willing renunciation of our own will for his will – our own life for his life – our own way for his way. Why did Jesus say we must strive to enter his kingdom of righteousness and peace? The word strive can also be translated as agony. To enter the kingdom of God we must struggle against every force or power of opposition – even the temptation to remain indifferent, apathetic, or compromising in our faith and personal trust in Jesus, our hope in holding firm to the promises of Jesus, and our uncompromising love for God above all else (the “love that has been poured into our hearts through the gift of the Spirit which has been given to us” – Romans 5:5).
The Lord is with us to strengthen us in our trials and struggles The good news is that we do not struggle alone. God is with us and his grace is sufficient! As we strive side by side for the faith of the Gospel (Philippians 1:27) Jesus assures us of complete victory! Do you trust in God’s grace and help, especially in times of testing and temptation?
“Lord Jesus, may I never doubt your guiding presence and mercy towards me. Through the gift of your Spirit fill me with courage and persevering faith to trust you in all things and every circumstance I find myself in. Give me the strength to cling to your promises when the world around me begins to shake or crumble. And when my love and zeal begin to waver, fan it into a flame of consuming love and dedication for you who are my All.”
The following reflection is courtesy of PresentationMinistries.com (c) 2014. Their website is located at PresentationMinistries.com
The Lord of the worksand the works of the Lord “Let all Your works give You thanks, O Lord.” Psalm 145:10 When the Bible uses the word “slaves,” it usually corresponds to our word “employees.” Thus, we may find five commandments for employees in today’s first reading. “Obey your human masters with the reverence, the awe, and the sincerity you owe to Christ” (Eph 6:5). This applies not only to the good and reasonable bosses, “but even those who are harsh” (1 Pt 2:18). This is not possible naturally, but is a “work of grace” (1 Pt 2:19). “Do not render service for appearance only and to please men” (Eph 6:6). Paul said: “If I were trying to win man’s approval, I would surely not be serving Christ!” (Gal 1:10) “Do God’s will with your whole heart as slaves of Christ” (Eph 6:6). Because we love Jesus with our whole heart (see Mt 22:37), we work with our whole heart. “Give your service willingly”(Eph 6:7). “Everyone must give according to what he has inwardly decided; not sadly, not grudgingly, for God loves a cheerful giver” (2 Cor 9:7). Do “it for the Lord rather than men” (Eph 6:7). The Bible tells us Who to work for, how to work, how not to work, and how to relate to our bosses. If we work accordingly, not “for perishable food but for food that remains unto life eternal” (Jn 6:27), we will receive an inheritance from the Lord as our reward (Col 3:24). Work for love of the Lord.
Prayer: Father, may I put in a good day’s work for You each day.
Promise: “Try to come in through the narrow door.” Lk 13:24
Praise: Starting her day with Mass helps Carol work cheerfully and zealously. (For more on this subject, order our leaflet, Job Performance for Jesus.)
Rescript: In accord with the Code of Canon Law, I hereby grant my permission to publish One Bread, One Body covering the period from October 1, 2014 through November 30, 2014.Most Reverend Joseph R. Binzer, Auxiliary Bishop, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 24, 2014. The rescript is a declaration that a book or pamphlet is considered to be free of doctrinal or moral error. It is not implied that those who have granted ecclesial permission agree with the contents, opinions, or statements