LECTIO DIVINA every Monday evening, 8.15pm-9.30pm,
led by two members of the Orlagh-in-the-city community, John Byrne and Bernadette Toal
in St. Augustine's, Taylor's Lane, Ballyboden
(NB: These sessions are closed for the summer and start again on September 2nd)
In addition to Kieran's notes (available at tarsus.ie), the following collection of comments on the gospel may be of use to Lectio Divina groups.
August 25, 2019 (pdf version here)
Again this week we encounter some of the ’hard sayings’ of Jesus. However, rather than moving quickly on to find the ‘nice’ parts of scripture to nourish us, it is good to take time to ponder what such texts are all about.
The question put to Jesus is one that many still ask. In his answer Jesus is not interested in talking about salvation in terms of numbers or statistics. He seeks rather to make his hearers realise that being saved is not something to be taken for granted. If we imagine that being Irish and Catholic is enough then maybe we had better think again. It is not about having a casual familiarity with the Lord. It is rather about the urgent and serious business of trying to live in the way he has asked us.
SEAN GOAN - Let the Reader Understand, Year C
THE CALL OF JESUS A CALL TO RESPONSIBILITY,
BUT NOT TO ANGUISH
According to Luke, an unknown person interrupts Jesus to ask him about the number of those who will be saved: will they be few or many? Will all be saved or only the just? Jesus does to answer question directly. It isn’t important to know how many will be saved. What matters is to be clear about living in a responsible manner to receive the salvation of a loving God. Jesus reminds all: “Make ever effort to enter through the narrow door.”
In this way he cuts from the root any misunderstanding of his message as an invitation to laxity. For laxity would be ridiculing the Father.
To understand properly the invitation “to enter through the narrow door”, we must remember the words of Jesus in the Gospel of John; “I am the gate whoever comes in by me will be saved” (10:9). To enter through the narrow door is to follow Jesus: to learn to live like him; to take up his cross and trust in the Father who raised him from the dead.
When we follow Jesus, we can’t do just anything we wish. We must respond faithfully to the love of the Father. What Jesus asks is not scrupulous observance of the law, but radical love of God and neighbour. Therefore, his call is a source of responsibility, but not of anguish. Jesus is always an open door. No one can close it. It is we who shut ourselves off from his forgiveness.
JOSÉ A PAGOLA - Following in the Footsteps of Jesus, Year C
1. The question put to Jesus is one that many still ask: “Will many be saved?” In his answer Jesus is not concerned about numbers but warns his listeners about complacency. Just as his listeners could not regard the mere fact of being Jews as sufficient for salvation, neither can we regard being Christians as enough. That entitlement will come from our acceptance of Jesus. For any relationship to be alive – either with God or with another human person – the real question is “Is my heart in this relationship?” What does your experience tell you of this?
2. “Strive to enter by the narrow door”. Jesus himself is on his journey to Jerusalem, purposeful and determined. His true followers will also be purposeful and determined. That is true in any journey, career, or relationship if there is to be growth or progress. What it is like for you when you fail to do this? What is it like for you when the effort is there?
JOHN BYRNE OSA - Intercom
Verse 25 V. 25 doesn’t quite seem to follow from v. 24 and most likely reflects a distinct tradition (as in Matthew’s version). The narrow door symbolises the cost of discipleship. The pressure to use the present moment for that very struggle is underlined by the (future) shutting of that door (most likely indicating the second coming). The question remains as to why the Lord should reply in this way.
Thought for the day
For a long time, Western Christianity was marked by a deep pessimism. Most were surely going to hell! In sum, we seem to have moved from clarity and pessimism to agnosticism and optimism. A necessary rebalancing, of course, but with the attendant risk of complacency, convinced as we are, and ought to be, of God’s boundless mercy, love and compassion. These gifts, on the other hand, should not trigger a kind of lazy confidence but should invite even greater engagement, commitment and costly discipleship. God desires the whole person, all that I am.
God of costly love, help us to take up the path of discipleship and respond to your Son’s call by giving our whole selves to you and the Gospel. Amen.
KIERAN O’MAHONY OSA - tarsus.ie
Jesus is asked a question. It is one we are always inclined to ask - how many will be saved?Jesus responds by insisting on one important point. The people who succeed must make a real effort to do so.
The entire passage appears as warning us against a complacent acceptance of ourselves as close to the kingdom of God.
This can be a real help against any form of self-righteousness.
MICHEL DE VERTEUIL - Lectio Divina on the Sunday Gospels, Year C