Someone once said to Paderewski, the great pianist, "Sir, you are a genius." He replied, "Madam, before I was a genius, I was a drudge." He continued: “If I missed practice one day, I noticed it; if I missed practice two days, the critics noticed it; if I missed three days, my family noticed it; if I missed four days, my audience noticed it. It is reported that after one of Fritz Kreisler's concerts a young woman said to him, "I would give my life to be able to play like that." He replied, "That's what I gave.”
The Gospel passage for this weekend is Jesus’s answer to a question asked, "Lord, will only a few people be saved?" The door is narrow. The Christian life is a constant striving to do the will of God as Jesus revealed it. Jesus’s answer to the questions was, "Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” We need to strive because there are forces of evil within us and around us, trying to pull us down.
Jesus surprised his listeners by saying that one's membership does not automatically mean entry into the kingdom of God. You need to believe and live it. Jesus also asserts that many from the gentile nations would enter God's kingdom. His invitation is open to Jew and Gentile alike. Jesus warns that we can be excluded if we do not strive to enter by the narrow door.
There is a story behind the narrow gate. Narrow gate was a small gate built into the much larger city gates of a city. It allowed someone to enter after hours when, for security reasons, the main gates had been closed and locked. The gate was too small to enter with more than a few items. Animals, carts, weapons and other large items had to remain outside the gate until the opening of the main gate in the morning. The night gate for the city of Jerusalem was nicknamed the “needle’s eye”. Jesus doesn’t answer the question regarding how many people will be saved. He was not interested in statistics. His answer was more personal…here’s how YOU can be saved. It is not easy to go through narrow gate. You may have wait or bend yourself. There will be challenges.
There is no comparison here. But there is one thing for consideration: our relationship with God. We have every means to enter the gate. We have sacraments, we have Eucharist, food for our journey: we listen to his words, eat His body and drink His blood. The question is “do we have a strong relationship with him”? Are we ready to face the challenges to build up the relationship?
St. Cecilia Cemetery dedication: As we all know John Wagner served Immaculate Conception Parish, and left gift for parish and St. Cecilia cemetery. Part of his wish was we blacktop the cemetery road and in his memory we place a bench in the cemetery. On the first anniversary of his death, Sunday August 25th at 3:00 pm we will be having a dedication ceremony at the St. Cecilia cemetery. All are welcome.
Thank you: Town of Chippewa provided material and labor to do the edging of new blacktop at the cemetery. We would like to express our gratitude for their generosity. We also like to express our gratitude to Butternut Knights of Columbus for helping with edging of the new blacktop. Thank you to everyone. It looks beautiful.