Easy Salvation?
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time (C)

Antonio P. Pueyo
Reproduced with Permission

We like convenience. In a busier world, if something can be done easier and faster, then so much the better. An Asian businessman has become wealthy by inventing the instant meal. Take out the seal, pour in hot water and you have instant noodles. Fast food joints and rolling restaurants are making brisk business. No need to cook.

If one can have instant coffee, why not instant salvation?

Action starter: How can you best be a disciple in your own state of life?

In today’s gospel reading (Lk. 13:22-30), Jesus was asked, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” The one asking seems to be saying also, “Why make salvation so difficult? Couldn’t discipleship be made easier?” Jesus’ answer was clear, “Go in through the narrow door.” Discipleship is not easy, Salvation is not easy.

We cannot claim discipleship by mere affiliation, “We ate and drank with you.; you taught in our town.” A contemporary claim might be, “I am a baptized Christian; I belong to a religious organization.” We might get the surprise of our life when people we least expect will be sitting at the Lord’s table and the “last will be first and the first will be last.”

I imagine myself asking the angel-waiter, “Excuse me, why is that guy here? I seldom see him in our church activities.” The angel-waiter answers, “Oh, that’s because he was taking care of his sickly neighbor. The Lord considers him a close friend. Whatsoever you do to the least, you do to me, said the Boss.” Then I might see a publicly known sinner, “What about her, why is she invited?” The angel whispers, “She cries every night for her sins and she washed the Lord’s feet with her tears.”

It is a banquet of interesting people. I see a mother who raised her five children alone. There is also the vendor who spread cheers as he sold his wares. There is a man who quietly sponsored some scholars through college. There is one talkative person who can’t seem to talk of anything else but the Lord’s goodness. One person endured his illness without much complaint. I also see a well-known activist who disappeared without a trace. He always talks of justice for the poor with the politician who was shot dead for fighting tyranny. A fascinating band of brothers and sisters.

Wouldn’t we like to join this group? The church bestowed some titles to those disciples who have joined the heavenly banquet. Some are confessors, martyrs, doctors, virgins, pastors, and benefactors. We also call them saints. They have lived their lives in many different ways. The door to salvation might be narrow but there are many of these narrow doors.

Salvation is not easy. It comes with a price. It comes with the Cross.