St. Michael's Parish - Cobourg

“Few are chosen”?-Homily October 12, 2014

 

It might be surprising that the Lord says these words. Are really “few” the chosen ones? Some people may take these words as an occasion to despair: “If those who are saved are few, I am not one of them.” Let me share a few reflections that may give us a better understanding of the Gospel and of the greatness of the Mercy of God.

 

1- Back to the parable. Why does the Lord say that few are chosen? Because some of the guests who were invited did not come, and some of those who did come, did not were the wedding robe.[1] In both cases it is a personal fault that prevents the person from being chosen and staying at the banquet. For some it is to be called to faith and not to accept the call. For others, it is to answer the call to faith, and then not to live as our faith teaches us to live. The wedding robe is the state of grace, which we lose when we commit a grave sin.

 

Therefore, if you have accepted the call to faith, and that is why we are here today I guess; and if you try to live out the faith you have accepted – and we are all sinners, but if we ask forgiveness God forgives always; why should we despair? If you lose your wedding robe, in the sacrament of confession the Holy Spirit sews a new one for you, at no cost, every time you are repented. If few are chosen, you are one of them when you trust in the mercy of God. “Whoever comes to me, I will not reject him” (John 6:37), says the Lord. If few are chosen, if few are forgiven, it is because there are few who ask forgiveness and trust in the infinite mercy of God.

 

2- It may be that few are chosen, but it is also true that “God wants all men to be saved” (1Tim 2:4). When Jesus says that few are chosen, he intends to awake our responsibility in our own salvation. As St. Paul said: “work out your salvation with fear and trembling” (Philippians 2:12). We have to strive to enter the small gate, because “small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14). Salvation is not easy, that is why few are chosen. But the fact that some are saved, shows how great is the mercy of God, who gives such a great gift to those who do not deserve it.[2]

 

But how few are they? Let us listen to John: “And I heard the number of the sealed, a hundred and forty-four thousand sealed, out of every tribe of the sons of Israel […] After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude which no man could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and tongues, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands.” (Cf. Revelation 7). No man could number those “few” who will be saved. Period. If they are called “few,” it is not because they are a couple of hundreds…

 

3- For some people it may seem that to be a chosen one means to be someone “special,” like anodd being, or a “holy woman” or man of who knows what kind. It should be enough to mention some of those “few” chosen, to realize that in order to be among the few you don’t have to have “a clean record.” Mary Magdalene… St. Peter (denied Jesus three times the very night we was ordained priest and he was then supposed to be the pope), St. Paul… in his own words: “Persecutor, blaspheme, a violent man.”You who are despaired, can you say that you are worse than these people were? Now they are saints. Why could you not be at least saved?

 

St. Paul wrote about himself:“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners. And I am the foremost of sinners; but I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience for an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life” (1Tim 1:15-16). God raised Paul so high in holiness to show us that there is no sin he cannot forgive. So, if few are chosen, they are not the perfect people who have never done anything wrong. St. Mary Magdalene, St. Paul, St. Peter, etc…

 

The mercy of God is like the sun shining at noon. The only way not to receive its light is to cover yourself. In the same way, the only way not to receive the mercy of God is to put an obstacle to it. What obstacle? To think that my sin is too big for God to forgive.But God is almighty, and his omnipotence is shown especially in his forgiveness… (cf. Wisdom 11:23). Another obstacle is to think that God does not want to forgive me, that it is too late for me, that I lost my opportunity, that he is angry with me. How can we think so about God? Jesus “came to save sinners,” not perfect people, he came “to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:28) not for a few.

 

God is love. God loves you. God is omnipotent and wants to use his omnipotence to make you happy, to forgive you and take you to Heaven. God loves you!If we could understand his love… Is it not enough to look at the Cross? We Christians put crosses everywhere not because we like death, but because we like to remember that God loves us.

 

May the Lord grant us to understand how much he loves us. May the Lord grant us to open our hearts to his forgiveness. May the Lord grant us the grace and the joy of loving him back.

–Fr. Andrew

 

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FYI(excerpts from a letter from Archbishop Durocher)

This coming Sunday (Oct. 12) will be special for all Canadians. Pope Francis, the Successor of the Apostle Peter, will preside at a Mass of Thanksgiving in Saint Peter’s Basilica, to celebrate the declaration earlier this year that the Universal Church recognizes two of our great pioneers, Bishop François de Laval and Mother Marie of the Incarnation, for their heroic sanctity, generous service, and the exemplary witness of their lives. His Eminence GéraldCyprien Cardinal Lacroix, Archbishop of Québec and Primate of Canada, will be among the main concelebrants with the Holy Father.

ii) The Sunday after that, October 19, at the conclusion of the Synod’s current Assembly, Pope Francis will lead the Church in the canonization of Blessed Paul VI.

 

This whole month thus brings together two major themes: strengthening the family, and evangelizing society. Saint François de Laval and Saint Marie of the Incarnation gave loving attention to the families of their day – particularly in terms of encouragement, formation, health care and schooling. Both these heroic pioneers recognized families had a mission to serve and transform society. Society depends on strong, healthy and holy families, not only to respond to the demands of the present moment but also to prepare for the future.

For Canadians, this month includes our annual civic holiday of Thanksgiving, when families and friends gather in appreciation for the blessings of life and of the past year. In addition, for Catholics, October is traditionally dedicated to the Rosary, and includes the memorial of Mary, Our Lady of the Rosary, on October 7. This past year, my diocese was involved in preparing French-language resources for the annual National Week for Life and the Family, an initiative of our Conference. As part of these materials, I prepared a short series of reflections on the family rosary.

http://www.cccb.ca/site/images/stories/pdf/life_and_family/2014_Week_for_life_and_family/Brief_Thoughts_on_the_Rosary_English.pdf

 



[1] Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Comment on Matthew.

[2] Cf. St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae, I, q.23, a.7, ad3.