Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time
August 25, 2019 – Year C
Readings: Is 66:18-21 / Ps 117 / Heb 12:5-7, 11-13 / Lk 13:22-30
by Rev. Salvador Añonuevo, Pastor
A few days ago, during my flight to Minneapolis, I noticed that more and more people, especially the young ones, are using digital boarding passes. This means they use their cell phones to be able to board the plane. This is on top of using it to buy stuff, instead of using actual credit cards. Quite a few states now, for the past few years, have been testing digital driver’s licenses. (Virginia is a little bit behind in the digital race.) In just a few years, maybe even months, all you will probably need is your cell phone, to travel and drive anywhere and buy anything, for as long as you don’t run out of battery. Because if your battery is dead, you are dead.
With all these new technologies, can we say that life is any easier today than it was 60, 40, or 20 years ago? Just like most of you probably would have done, I “googled” this question, only to realize that I really didn’t need to. In my more than thirty years in the priesthood, I have visited parishioners in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospitals, and their homes. That’s in addition to talking to them in the church and in the parish office. They tell me not only about their lives, but also about the lives of their children, grandchildren, relatives, friends, and every once in a while, about their enemies.
With all of this information I have gathered for more than thirty years, I can say that life is pretty much the same. So the answer to my questions is a combination of “it depends” and “not really.” People still have the same basic human desires and challenges. We may have different approaches to solving a particular problem, but there is still no magic bullet to combat depression or any form of physical, psychological, or emotional illness. In the digital age, there is still no such thing as a free lunch. We all have to pay the price in one way or another, in one form or another, for anything of value in this world.
This is definitely the case so far as our spiritual life is concerned. In today’s gospel, Jesus said, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate. For many, I tell you, will attempt to enter, but will not be strong enough.” How can we make ourselves strong? The letter to the Hebrews in the second reading gives us an idea. The key word is discipline. We need the spiritual discipline that is being given to us by the Lord God and His Church to be able to have the strength to navigate the trials in this world.
The good news is that we are not alone in this journey. We are all in the same boat and the Lord Jesus promised to be with us always. At one point, the Lord said, “In this world, you will have troubles, but be of good cheer. I have overcome the world.” With God who is with us, and within us, we believe that we can also do the same.