370 East Main Street
PO Box 7
Wytheville, VA 24382
Phone: (276) 228-3104
Fax: (276) 228-3322

Welcome to the Pastor's Desk

August 25th, 2019

Bernie Ramirez Sun, Aug 25, 7:23 PM (17 hours ago) to Ed

In today’s gospel, we heard somebody in the crowd asked Jesus this question: “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” Jesus did not give the number of those who will be saved. He even did not really answer the man’s question but he just said: “Strive to enter through the narrow gate…” In other words, he is answering a more important question, “How can I be saved?” He is also giving a chance to each one of us to avail of the salvation. Anyway God is in charge of final judgment, why do we try to decide who will be saved? We, as followers of Jesus, must not be judgmental about who we think will go through the narrow gate; our vision of God must be not shortsighted or exclusive. We must see with a wide-angle lens that God’s salvation is open to all. God’s salvation is unbounded and it reaches out not only those whom we only trust but also sometimes even those we despise.

But how can we be saved?

First is Be a Friend of God. There are only two kinds of people in this world: those who are being used by God for His purposes and those who are using God for their own purposes. One is serving God and the other is serving their own desires. And so therefore for us who are trying to become friends of God, let us try to do what is expected of us by God. Let us enjoy the life, let us live this life to the best we can. Let us help others as others have been used by God to help us. We are not to live for ourselves but to live for God and respond to His call and purpose.

Likewise, let us also consider the advice of our second reading taken from the letter to the Hebrews: “You have also forgotten the exhortation addressed to you as sons: ‘My son, do not disdain the discipline of the Lord or lose heart when reproved by him; for whom the Lord loves, he disciplines; he scourges every son he acknowledges. Endure your trials as discipline; God treats you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline?’” We should accept and be happy if we experience discipline, trials and scourges, this means we are loved and friends by God.

Whatever people say cannot be the measure of what is ethical, moral or right even if it is legal. The view of the majority is not necessarily the view of God.

Second is Put your Trust in God and walk in His Ways, that is, enter through the narrow door which is He. I got an article some years back about the difference between Winners and Losers. It runs this way:

The Winner is always part of the answer; the Loser is always part of the problem.

The Winner always has a program; the Loser always has an excuse.

The Winner says, “Let me do it for you”; the Loser says, “That is not my job.”

The Winner sees an answer for every problem; the Loser sees a problem for every answer

The Winner says, “It may be difficult but it is possible; the Loser says, “It may be possible but it is too difficult.”

When a Winner makes a mistake, he says, “I was wrong”; when a Loser makes a mistake, he says, “It wasn’t my fault.”

A Winner makes a commitment; a Loser makes promises.

Winners have dreams; Losers have schemes.

Winners say, “I must do something; Losers say, “Something must be done.”

Winners are part of the team; Losers apart from the team.

Winners see the gain; Losers see the pain.

Winners see the possibilities; Losers see the problems.

Winners believe in all winner; Losers believe for them to win someone has to lose.

Winners see the potential; Losers see the past.

Winners choose what they say; Losers say what they choose.

Winners used hard arguments but soft words; Losers used soft arguments but hard words

Winners stand firm on values but compromise on petty things; Losers stand firm on petty things but compromise on values.

Winners follow the philosophy of empathy: “Don’t do to others what you would not want them to do to you”; Losers follow the philosophy: “Do it to others before they do it for you.”

Winners make it happen; Losers let it happen.

As I look at this article, winners know the virtue of perseverance, which they gracefully blend with the lessons they learned from their mistakes. They are not necessarily people who have the best of everything but they make the best of everything.

Losers on the other hand, take the path of least resistance. These people might have talent and a lot of skills but their losing attitude gets in the way of success. When the work gets tough, they stop, they quit.

So let us put our trust in God and walk in His ways. Then we will realize that we can do all things through Christ who gives us the strength to enter through the narrow gate.