21st Sunday Ordinary Time
August 25, 2019
“Lord, are there few in number who will be saved?”
We all have questions for God, sometimes very tough questions. It is very enlightening to look at the Scriptures to see which types of questions God answers directly, which he doesn’t, and why.
Jesus is traveling toward Jerusalem in this Sunday’s gospel (Luke 13:22-30). He is headed toward his death, and he has eternity on his mind. He knows his time with the disciples is limited, and wants them to understand as much as possible about what really matters to God. In fact, we are on the same journey, and our time on earth is also limited. It is essential that we discover what life is really all about so that we make the best use of our time here! And this brings us to our questioner.
A person calls out from the crowd, wondering how many will actually be saved? Notice particularly that Jesus does not answer this question directly, because this is the wrong question to be asking. God does not answer questions in this life just to satisfy our curiosity. That will come later. The real question to be asking here is not, “How many will be saved?” but “What must I do to be saved?”
We have good questions to ask. “Why must we suffer?” “Why did he die?” “Why am I ill?” “Why don’t you fully reveal yourself and convert the world, Lord?” There are so many other questions we want to ask! The answer that Jesus offers for suffering, death, and many other tough questions is the cross: his own. He offers his life on earth as a partial answer. The answer here from God is “I suffered too.”
If God is silent on many issues, when does he speak up? The questions Christ always answers are about how I treat my neighbor and how to live a life pleasing to God! This Sunday, for example, Jesus tells us not to take the easy path by merely following the crowd in committing sin! He tells us instead to pursue the narrow way. Our life path is not meant to be “Easy Street.” If this is my life’s goal, I am on the wrong path! It is only by listening to Jesus at Mass and in the Scriptures that we can have the courage to choose the tough path that leads to life. So then, the real question that God always wants to answer is, “What must I do now Lord to fulfill your will? Lord, you don’t need to satisfy my curiosity now, just teach me to listen to your will.” This is the type of question Our Lord waits for and can’t wait to answer!