Belfast Telegraph

Thought for the weekend

 

By Fr Patrick McCafferty, Corpus Christi, Belfast

A man asked Our Lord a question, "Sir, will only a few be saved?", and the Lord answered, "Strive to enter by the narrow gate because, I tell you, many will try to enter and will not succeed (see Luke 13:23-24)."

From the Lord's own teaching, it is clear that there are those who will not be saved. Their identities are known only to God and we have been warned not to dare to speculate, for "the judgement you give is the judgement you shall receive (Matthew 7:1-2)".

Nevertheless, God's ministers must not fail to sound a warning about the "great salvation" which we neglect at our eternal peril (see Hebrews 2:3).

Furthermore, the Lord warns that there are those who think their salvation is assured and they are deluding themselves (Luke 13:26-27).

Salvation essentially means "to be healed" and God's salvation is "to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25)".

It is to be healed entirely, through and through. The healing the Lord gives makes us fit to enjoy the glory and joy of Heaven with Him in the great company of the angels and all the redeemed.

Salvation begins now and it is entirely free and completely available. Nevertheless, we must open ourselves entirely to the holy and purifying fire of the Lord's love.

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The "narrow door" by which the Lord invites us to enter is only accessible to those who die to themselves, who have "crucified the flesh with all its passions and desires (Galatians 5:24)".

It is a terrible thing to "receive the grace of God in vain (II Corinthians 6:1)", not to avail of the transformation God will effect in us when we open ourselves to Him.

Grace heals, purifies and makes perfect. It restores us fully to the image and likeness of our creator, which has been defaced and distorted by sin and selfishness. It is a free and unmerited gift (Ephesians 2:8), but the gift must be welcomed and allowed to change us.

The way of salvation is open to all, but it is through a "cleft in the rock (Song of Songs 2:14)" that we must enter the depths of God's love. To hide there, we must shed our egos. We must put self-love to death and become selfless.

Those who will be saved are those who have been totally absorbed into Christ, so that they live entirely and only for Him (Galatians 2:20). The saved are those who love as Jesus has loved (John 13:34).

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