FR MICHAEL BIBLICAL IMAGERY
(Fr Michael Boakye Yeboah: Vice Rector of St Gregory Seminary, Kumasi-Ghana)
The whole of scripture is glued or laced with interconnectivity. One text always finds connectivity with another and I see that at play in today’s three readings. In today’s first reading, Isaiah offers words of hope for the nations of different tongues. He rains down messages of hope laced with restoration of life.
The whole prophetic writing of Isaiah comes to us in 66 chapters. The whole book can be classified into God’s judgment and restoration. Isaiah’s prophecy on God’s judgment can be harsh and strong and can send fear on one’s spine but his messages of restoration can be highly heartwarming and relaxing to the nerves.
Fortunately for us, we are given a message of restoration instead of judgment in today Isaianic text (the first reading). Though the message is hopeful to all people, the prophet highlights “selectivity.” The door of restoration maybe opened to all people, but only a few may be found at the entrance of the door. Selectivity here, does not rest with the choice of the owner of the household but rather on the choices of people. God is ready to restore his people but unfortunately few people may offer themselves for restoration.
I am tempted to think that the person who posed a question to Jesus in today’s gospel text may have had a preview to the Isaianic text. He came to Jesus with the question “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” In answer to the person’s question Jesus stressed on “the choice of a person” and not necessarily on the quantity of people to be saved. Though a few may be saved in the end, Jesus invites the believer to “make the choice of striving to enter through the narrow gate…”
The choice made should rest on a life lived out in Christian discipline as the author to the letter to the Hebrews counsels. Discipline is needed here because entrance and selection will not be conducted on “who-you-know” basis. That is why Jesus warned his listeners that some people will come with things like: we heard you teach on our streets and we ate and drank with you but the door keeper will say to them; be off for I know you not.
Though “selectivity” and “the few” seem central in today’s liturgy of the word, the emphasis rests on the choice of a person. Isaiah makes it clear that the doors of salvation is opened wide for all people on the earth but Jesus makes it clearer that the choice of life will play a critical role in one’s entry into a life in him. Choices in life comes with consequences. If one decides not to follow the Lord’s ways, Jesus indicates that in the end the person may be left with wailing and grinding of teeth.
I would like to state that Christianity should not be seen as a “brand name” that one associates him or herself with but rather as a “Christ-centered disciplined” way of life. Being tagged a Christian cannot get you among the selected few but you may be part of those whose names are written in the book of life if you live as the Lord wants.
Time waits for no person. You had better change your lifestyle, else as the Lord warns us “… there will be wailing and grinding of teeth when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and all the prophets in the kingdom of God and you yourself cast out.” Remember the old Latin adage “Tempus fugit” – time flies. Please make good use of your active time on earth. Please give your life to Jesus today. OUR LADY OF PERPETUAL HELP PRAY FOR US.