Letters from a Pastor to His People- August 25, 2019
You've all seen action movies. I have in my mind this image, from so many movies, of the heroes trying to enter a sealed and guarded building. They take a car or truck and bust through the gates.
Our Lord says, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate" (Luke 13:22-30). Sometimes we have to "bust through" the narrow gate. That is, we don't enter the narrow gate to heaven by squeezing through or taking the long route or by some trickery. We take action and plow through.
Jesus then says the following: "And you will say, 'We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.' Then he will say to you, 'I do not know where you are from. Depart from me you evildoers.'"
What Christ is saying here, basically, is: "Look, I know you have shared a meal with me, whether in your home or on the mount during the feeding of the 5,000, but that doesn't mean the bond has been established. That's not enough to get you into heaven. You need to go do something now. You need to put into practice what you've heard. Listening and receiving is not enough."
As Catholics, it's not enough for us to claim, "We went to Mass every Sunday and avoided sin." No. Remember, we need to barrel through that narrow gate. Mass, the Sacraments, the commandments—these are all the tools or the fundamentals. We are called to action; to put our faith into practice.
How can you live out your faith? Maybe it's saying a Hail Mary silently before you go into a big meeting or an encounter that is precarious; saying a Hail Mary before class starts. That's action. Maybe it's reading a couple chapters from Scripture or even picking up a book on spirituality and reading that instead of aimlessly flipping through the TV or your phone. That's action. Maybe it's saying no to a sports commitment or some other social event and spending time with your family. That's action. And, if you have a strained relationship with someone—there's a person you don't speak to or you resent—you can pray for him or her and even reach out to him or her. That's action.
Look at the Blessed Mother as an example. When she said yes to Gabriel and conceived Jesus in her womb by the power of the Holy Spirit, she didn't rest there. She took action and went out to visit her cousin Elizabeth. Mary desired to spread the good news of her conception to her relatives.
If you struggle with taking action in your spiritual and moral life, try saying this Marian prayer: Dear Mary, pray for us that we will be bold in living out our faith, that we will bust through that narrow gate, and experience heaven both now and at the hour of our death. Amen.
Thanks again to all who organized and contributed to the Men's Club Golf Outing this past Saturday. It was a great time and quite a success.
Deacon Hank Lyon returns to Mundelein Seminary this Thursday. Deacon Hank has been with us full-time over the summer, but seminary classes resume and it is time for him to head back. Don't be sad—we'll still have Deacon Hank with us over the weekends throughout the year.
We are still looking for auction items for this year's Gala (September 14). If you have anything we could use (sports tickets, gift cards, gift baskets, new items, etc.), please let me know. We're hoping this year's gala will be as successful as last's! Thank you so much.
Yours in Christ,