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The WORD. The TRUTH.

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In today’s gospel (Lk 13:22-30) Jesus was asked how many will be saved (v22). He responded with a group of utterances about salvation and reception or non-reception into the kingdom, introducing and setting a tone for the entire second part of the travel account of Luke.

Jesus’ response (v.24) used the verb ἀγωνίζομαι (agōnizomai). Only seven times used in NT (though other Greek words synonymous to it are used as well), it means to strive in the sense of “putting in a great effort to obtain a result” in the majority of these contexts, and in particular regarding salvation (cf 1 Tim 6:12; 2 Tim 4:7; John 18:36). Here Jesus makes use of the language of a contest- (’agon’) or struggle, to stress the need for effort to walk into the kingdom through the narrow door. The path to salvation is not through a wide, open entrance. Thus, the call for timely reform announced by Jesus earlier (13:3, 5) is now cast in terms of a narrow entrance through which only a few can pass at any one time.

Striving does not mean instant success because that door is also controlled by the master within (v25). To the narrowness of the door is added a warning not to wait until the last minute. Urgency should impel the striving as against dalliance and indifference. Ultimately, salvation in the kingdom through a narrow door that only the master opens is only for those whom he knows (vv26, 27), a relationship that goes beyond superficial acquaintance and affiliation that gives a false sense of inclusion in the kingdom.

Some sects claimed that their members alone can be saved. But we believe in the universality of redemption offered by Jesus. Prophet Isaiah envisioned it already (66:18- 21). Only we have to strive constantly and consistently and see the hand of God even in our hardships and difficulties. For we need to consider our sufferings as “discipline,” the affectionate correction of the Lord, in the way father disciplines his own son out of love (Heb 12:5f). Christian discipleship does take effort and goes beyond rituals and religious practices. It means self-giving and detachment, service to others and following the way and living the very life of Jesus.

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Veritas Editorial

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

Rev. Fr. Anton CT Pascual

President of Radio Veritas

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