Twenty-First Sunday in Ordinary Time

If we found ourselves in a burning building or on a sinking ship, we would quickly act to save our life. Why? Our life is precious; we needn’t think terribly long about the simple reality that if something is endangering our life we seek to avoid the peril, doing what we must to save ourselves.

Why is it, then, that when we realize our eternal life is in danger, we are so slow to act? Today’s Gospel gives us another image that we instinctively find unsettling: being locked out. The gate is open, Jesus tells us, but it will not always be so: do not delay! There are those who spent time with Jesus, who remember Him and heard Him, and to those He says, “I do not know you; depart!” Why is this? These people were in the presence of the Messiah and heard His voice but did not listen, saw Him but did not follow: they found the sheepgate (Jn. 10:7-9) but delayed entering, for whatever reason. By the time they chose to enter, it was too late.

Such people seem to have relied on their acquaintance with the prophets, or their Abrahamic ancestry for entrance, but Jesus tells them that even Gentiles will enter the Kingdom before them. Why? Because we are not saved by the prophets, nor by our relation to Abraham: we are saved through Christ. We ought not, for the sake of our eternal life with Him, delay in responding to His invitation. The time to respond to Christ is now, for later may be forever too late.

August 25th, 2013