An unknown wise and witty person wrote this poem.
I was shocked, confused, bewildered as I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all, nor the lights or its decor.
But it was the folks in Heaven who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners, the alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbor who never said anything nice.
Herb, who I always thought was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine, looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal? I would love to hear your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here? God must’ve made a mistake.
‘And why’s everyone so quiet, so somber – give me a clue.’
Jesus said, ‘They’re all in shock. They never thought they’d be seeing you!’
It IS an important question: “Are they few in number who will be saved?” Whoever asked it believed in life after death, but they were wanting to know if it was as hard to get as the Pharisees believed. The Pharisees said that only a small number of people would be with God forever. In our time & place people overwhelmingly think almost everyone gets to heaven.
But what does Jesus say? He doesn’t say, “Only a few will be saved,” as the Pharisees taught. Neither does he say, “Many will be saved,” as today’s popular culture says. Instead, he changes the focus from the general to the particular. He looks at his questioner and says, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate.” Then Jesus tells a parable that teaches individual responsibility by showing that on Judgment Day there will be a lot of surprises – the first will be last, and the last will be first
Consider what the Catholic Church teaches about salvation.
o We were saved from the power of sin and death when Jesus suffered and died on the Cross. Oh sure, some of us can tell you the day when God changed our lives in a powerful way like Saint Paul on the road to Damascus. But salvation was won and begun on the Cross.
o Whenever someone asks me if I am saved, my answer is this: “I am in the process of being saved.” Salvation is a lifelong, ongoing process that we need to take seriously.
o Salvation is an undeserved gift or grace freely given by God. We have only to freely accept it with God’s grace. We do not and cannot earn salvation.
o However, it is also true that our faith is not real and true unless it can be seen in our words, our actions, and our hearts. We have to live and share our faith.
Be sure of this: God wants all people to be saved.
Jesus tells us to strive to enter. The way is narrow because our actions have consequences; we are responsible for our choices.
Without God, we cannot be saved.
Without us, God will not save us.