Luke 13: 22-30
Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
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, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
The Gospel of the Lord
Sunday Gospel Reflection
Sunday, August 25, 2019
by Janelle Sevier, SNDdeN
Many years ago, while spending some months in Guatemala, I had the graced experience of meeting each day to reflect on the Gospel with three young women. These teenagers had come down from the mountains in order to live and study in the city of Esquipulas. Generous of heart and striving for holiness, as well as for a way to find a better life, these teenagers and I focused on this gospel for our sharing one summer day.
I continue to be touched by what one of them shared. Regarding the narrow gate, Beatriz said: “I think Jesus must mean something like the narrow paths we use to travel up and down the mountain. If you meet anyone on that path you have to stop and speak with the person. There is no way that you could pass without seeing the person and having some interaction, and we hear their news as well. I think that is what Jesus is saying to me- that he wants to meet me on a ‘narrow’ way so that we will meet one another and just talk.”
What a different “take” on the narrow path and on why Jesus would ever say “ I do not know where you are from.” Meeting on a narrow path, entering through a narrow gate, means encounter! Can it be that in this gospel passage Jesus is inviting us to meet him— and not to some boulder strewn, difficult path like the pictures I saw growing up? It isn’t struggle that Jesus invites us to, but real relationship – with him and with one another!
We are called to truly meet the other, to have a word, to be present. In these days of rapid, and often overwhelming, communication, much of it faceless, we are invited to choose a path that not only allows encounter, but necessitates personal encounter. This might mean a little less multi-tasking and a lot more focus; letting go of whatever distractions keep me from being really present- to Jesus and to others.
Try to enter by the narrow gate …
What can I choose today that would put me on the path that leads to encounter?
Meet Janelle Sevier, SNDdeN
Sister Janelle Sevier has spent most of her ministerial life in pastoral work. She lived many years in Africa, where she served in a variety of pastoral, educational, and spiritual ministries. After returning from Africa, Sr. Janelle worked in her home state of Louisiana working in both social services and in spirituality: providing HIV services for those who could not afford treatment, and working as a pastoral associate. She then spent time in Haiti, helping to begin a new Notre Dame ministry for destitute families there. Now back in Louisiana, she is working as a pastoral assistant in a local parish and is also privileged to be involved in giving directed retreats and spiritual direction. Deeply grateful for the different ways she has been enriched by seeing God’s action in the lives of people of different cultures and experiences, she embraces this new opportunity to share Gospel reflections via the technological tools which this time in history provides. Sister Janelle is celebrating her 50 Jubilee as a Sister of Notre Dame de Namur in 2019.