21st Sunday OT – Cycle C – Wedding – Homiletics
Today, in addition to celebrating the Holy Mass, all of us will be witnessing the marriage of two long-time parishioners whom we all know and love dearly: Dave and Betty.
Dave… Betty, I doubt very highly that after 92 and 88 years of life, that there’s any advice I can give the two of you about living a happy, healthy, and holy marriage. So, I won’t. I’ll save the advice for the 22-year-old couple getting married next weekend.
Instead, we’ll consider today’s Gospel, where Christ commands us, “[to] strive to enter through the narrow gate.” In the original Greek of the New Testament, this word strive conveys the idea of struggling to enter through the narrow gate. This requires an immense deal of effort, like a runner in a race, struggling not to fall behind the runner next to him; so too does Christ call on us to put forth that same effort, to struggle to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven.
This struggle, this immense effort that we have to put forth to enter the kingdom is important because it’s something each one of us can relate to. Sometimes it’s a struggle to get out of bed and go to work, sometimes it’s a struggle to get homework done before we play video games, sometimes it’s a struggle to love the one you’re married to. But most importantly it’s a struggle to be a saint and to live out the Gospel in our everyday lives. And yet struggle we must because God has called us to it.
Now, Christ says something interesting in the Gospel today, he says, “for many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” Many who attempt it won’t be strong enough, this idea of strength is linked to struggle. Think about any time you’ve worked hard at something, any time you’ve struggled to get something done. The little effort we put forward in our struggles little by little makes us stronger. The more we struggle to be saints, the more we struggle to live the Gospel and a virtuous life, the stronger we become in doing so.
Lastly, I wanted to draw your attention to the words of Our Lord immediately following, he says, “After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,” … “he will say to you, ‘I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, all you evildoers!’”
AFTER the master has locked the door; this serves to remind us that we must act now, we cannot delay in struggling through the narrow gate of salvation. Because we know not the day, nor the hour that the Master will lock the door. Then we must struggle to do good, to live the gospel, to live a virtuous life!
And this is just as true for marriage as it is for every vocation; we struggle for things that are important, for things that are worth it. And so, we struggle to enter into the kingdom of God through the narrow gate; we struggle and strive to be holy.
For some of us, our struggle for holiness is in the priesthood or religious life, for others, the struggle to holiness is very much found in marriage, and family life. It’s not easy, but God has called us to it.
My brothers and sisters, wherever you find yourself in life, struggle to do the good, struggle to follow the Gospel, and most importantly, struggle to enter through the narrow gate of salvation.