prayer and sacraments
21st Sunday In Ordinary Time – Year C
Fr. Mark Gatto
Preached: August 25, 2019
Would Jesus recognize me if I met him? Would Jesus recognize you? If we were knocking at the door of the heart of God, will God recognize us, or will the Lord say to us as in the Gospel, “I do not know where you come from; go away from me.”
Our challenge is to live our lives in such a way that Jesus knows me and recognizes me. By my words, by my actions, by how I treat others, does my way of life reflect the way of Jesus? Will Jesus recognize us as people who belong to him?
A life of prayer and sacraments is one step in this path to be recognized by the living God. But, prayer and sacraments in themselves do not get us into heaven. They are not like some pass so that God receives us when we knock. But, prayer and sacraments are important if they help us to see with the eyes of God. If they help to change our hearts into the heart of Jesus.
When our prayer and the sacraments bring us closer to the living God, when they change our hearts and lead us to see as Jesus sees, then prayer and sacraments will lead us to live in a new way. A way that truly reflects the way of Jesus, a way that will allow the Lord to recognize us when we knock at the heart of God.
One of the people asks Jesus, “will only a few be saved?” I wonder if this person assumed that they would be saved and was sort of hoping that many others would not be saved. Sometimes we who are supposedly Christian, followers of Jesus, take for granted our own salvation and are ready to reject others as not Godly enough or not part of God’s kingdom. Jesus finishes the Gospel today with those words, “some are last who will be first, some are first who will be last.”
Things are not always as they seem. So called winners in this world might end up last in God’s eyes, and so called losers might end up first in God’s eyes. Many of us might be very surprised to see who is ahead of us in the Kingdom of God.
Do not take for granted our faith, our relationship with God. Am I living as someone who belongs in the home of God? Am I living in such a way that the Lord will recognize me as one who belongs?
We need to engage in deep prayer and spend time with the Lord in the Sacraments. Then let this prayer and sacraments change our hearts into the heart of Jesus, change our vision to see with the eyes of God. To live our lives in such a way that the Lord will recognize us when we knock at the door of God’s heart.