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Welcome Weekend Mass: The Narrow Gate – Fr. Mike DeTemple

September 5, 2013

Revisit the homily Fr. Mike DeTemple shared with our community during Welcome Weekend Mass. How are you accepting the challenge to enter the gate of love and sharing in the journey with the DU community these first few weeks of the year?Image

The Narrow Gate
21st Sunday – August 25, 2013

The story is told about an elderly man who became dissatisfied with all religions and decided to start his own.  Word got out about his new religion and a reporter contacted him to ask some questions.  “Tell me,” he said, “is it true that you believe that only you and your assistant, Mary, will be saved?”  The man paused for a while and then replied: “Well, I’m not so sure about Mary.”

Will only a few be saved?  What do you think?

We just sang together: “Go out to all the world and tell the Good News!”  That’s our Mission!  So what’s the Good News we have heard today that we are called to proclaim?  The Kingdom of God is not just for a few: “People will come from the east and the west, from the north and the south, and will take their place at the feast in the kingdom of God.”  So, welcome from east and west, north and south to this feast which is a foretaste of the banquet we will share in the Kingdom of Heaven.

More Good News: Jesus tells us that at this banquet the last will be first: “For behold, some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last.”  Who are the last?  We all have our list: “He’s the last person on earth I’d ever go to the movies with; she’s the last person on earth I’d invite to the party; the last person I’d want on my team, in my school, in my neighborhood . . . Every society, culture and organization has a list of lasts – even baseball leagues!

Well in heaven the last will be first – the very ones we might want to exclude will be first.  That’s why Jesus didn’t answer the question posed to him; it implies that some or many will be excluded.  It seems as if the speaker is thinking “Well, we already know that only a few will be saved and of course, I’m among them!  Thank God!”

Jesus doesn’t go there.  Instead he directs our attention away from the future and puts it on the present – on himself and the path he is taking (to Jerusalem, the place of his Passion and death) and says: “Enter through the narrow gate.”  Enter through him, the gate of love.  More Good News to proclaim!  Enter into the mind and heart of Christ; come to know his deep love for us and our desire love and follow him; to have a close relationship with him – to listen and respond to his words by living our lives according to the Gospel and the example he gives us of love, service and sacrifice.  This will not always be easy, of course, but as someone once said, “A path without obstacles does not lead anywhere worth going.”  And this path leads to heaven!

The truth is we enter through the narrow gate often in life – every time we give up something in order to achieve something, to get what we desire, to accomplish our goals, to develop our abilities and talents, to have and deepen loving relationships.  All of these efforts require discipline, perseverance, commitment, hard work, courage, sacrifice and love.  Parents know all about this – they know what they have sacrificed to have their daughters and sons come to this university.  Musicians, artists, athletes, educators, nurses, doctors, people who serve their country, their church, their community – everyone who makes a sacrifice to achieve something worthwhile – know all about the narrow gates we enter in life.

Jesus has opened the gates of heaven and revealed the way to get there – by entering the narrow gate of love, the door of his heart.  What awaits us on the other side is a banquet of indescribable happiness, joy, fulfillment, peace and love.  But it begins right here, right now – at this feast – in this place, at this university – with these people because as St. Catherine of Siena said: “All the way to heaven is heaven itself.”

Today we can praise and thank God for all that he has done for us in Jesus; we can pray for each other especially our new students, faculty and staff, as we begin a new school year; we can choose to be a blessing to each other every day; and we can go out to all the world and tell the Good News – Jesus is the narrow Gate of Love that leads us to the feast in the Kingdom of God where the last will be first – and where everyone is welcome!

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