Wednesday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time
(Ephesians 6:1-9; Luke 13:22-30)
Sir John Falstaff taught the English Prince Hal how to live a dissolute life. Drinking, gambling, and womanizing were vices that the man passed on to his young protégé. When Prince Hal became King Henry, Falstaff supposed that he would have life easy. He expected his friend, the king, to provide him with all the money necessary for both pleasure and leisure. King Henry, however, rejects his friend as an opportunist. He banishes him from his presence “on pain of death.” Jesus promises to do something similar in today’s gospel.
A man from the crowd yells at Jesus a question. “’Lord,’” he asks, “’will only a few people be saved?’” Quite surprising to people today, Jesus warns the crowd that they had better desist doing evil. He says that even though they “’ate and drank’” with him, they have not won salvation. Rather they have to do good and avoid evil if they are ever to enjoy eternal life.
We Catholics sometimes have a similarly incorrect idea about the way to salvation. Some of us believe that just because we “’ate and drank’” with the Lord at mass, our eternal destiny is secure. No, we must do so worthily. This means that we strive along with Jesus to love God and neighbor. It implies that we sacrifice our comfort to follow his way of service.