The Unexpected Saint Among Us
I am the way, the truth and the life, says the Lord; no one comes to the Father, except through me.
A reflection from Father Tudgay
There’s an old saying among people of faith that goes something like, “You’ll be surprised at the people you’ll see in heaven…”. It’s a saying that is pretty profound and gives us an insight into the Gospel passage this weekend. We know in our world that the zealots among us – the ‘holier than thou’ folks – can be a bit intimidating and use religion as an opportunity to shame us into action. In case you’ve never heard this from a priest, please hear it from me…Shame is never an appropriate motivation for discipleship in Jesus Christ!
What, then, is the motivation to do good and to live the Gospel? Jesus talks about the ‘narrow way’ and that by following it, our lives remain focused on his presence within. See, the Christian Faith is far more than an amalgamation of ‘do’s and dont’s’ and the shaming techniques used to get us to observe them. The Christian Faith is, principally, a relationship! This personal relationship is one with the Lord of the Universe, the Word through whom we have been created, whose personal and particular love for us is the principal motivation for how we live our lives. Jesus, alive in us, invites us to pay close attention to where he is leading – through the narrow gate – to discover our real purpose and mission as disciples. Any shame there? None that I can tell!
This “narrow gate” is different for everyone depending on their particular vocation, challenges, and circumstances of life. We have no idea what burdens are being carried by our neighbor. If we pay close attention to where Christ is leading us, we will see those coming from the most unexpected places to continue to build the Kingdom with us in our midst!
O God, who cause the minds of the faithful to unite in a single purpose, grant your people to love what you command and to desire what you promise, that, amid the uncertainties of this world, our hearts may be fixed on that place where true gladness is found.