Jesus went through one town and village after another, teaching as he made his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him, “Lord, will only a few be saved?” He said to them,“Strive to enter through the narrow door; for many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able. When once the owner of the house has got up and shut the door, and you begin to stand outside and to knock at the door, saying, ‘Lord, open to us,’ then in reply he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you come from.’ Then you will begin to say, ‘We ate and drank with you, and you taught in our streets.’
But he will say, ‘I do not know where you come from; go away from me, all you evildoers!’ There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth when you see Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrown out. Then people will come from east and west, from north and south, and will eat in the kingdom of God. Indeed, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”
New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989, by the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved. USCCB approved.
I’m privileged to share time with amazing folks through Ignatian Spirituality Project and Harmony, Hope & Healing, which offer spaces for people in recovery and experiencing homelessness to encounter God, community, and their true selves. Survivors of trauma, abuse, neglect, and self-harm tell their stories in hopes of experiencing healing and liberation.
As people share—about suffering, loss, shame, failure—every participant proclaims without hesitation their reliance on God. They sing about their dependence on their Savior. They work at their spiritual practice every single day, sometimes needing to begin again. They have hope – the kind that requires a real leap of faith. I wish I could say the same for myself some days.
If anyone is going to make it through the narrow gate described in today’s Gospel, I think it’s folks like these.
What can I learn from people who seem like the “last” according to the world?
—Katie Davis (MDiv, Loyola University Chicago) is a former Jesuit Volunteer/JVC Magis currently working as a Chaplain and Religious Studies teacher at St. Ignatius College Prep. She has served on the Advisory Board for Jesuit Connections and is a member of the Chicago Women’s Team for the Ignatian Spirituality Project. Katie preaches with the project Catholic Women Preach.
God, grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
courage to change the things I can;
and wisdom to know the difference…