Aug 24, 2019
Are you saved?
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time 2019
Sometimes you might be asked “Are you saved?” It always seems to be a loaded question. In the evangelical Protestant Christianity, to say “Yes” it often implies that you have made a one time irrevocable commitment to accept Jesus Christ as your savior. And this is important for every Christian to do. If you say “No, I am not saved”, the implication is one is on a downward road to hell.
When Jesus was asked how many would be saved, he didn’t give a straight answer. When a young rich religious man asked him how to attain eternal life, Christ told him that he had to first sell everything he owned and follow him and he would have riches in heaven. Did he do so and was he saved? I don’t know. But, maybe the better answer to the question worth reflecting on, is not about whether I have a golden ticket assuring me that I’m on the next flight to heaven. Rather, the first answer one should give to the question “Are you saved?”, is “What am I being saved from?”
In the Sunday Gospel, those who asked Jesus how many will be saved, were naturally looked around and wondering how many would be saved from all the corruption and abuse of power they experienced every day from the hostile forces and influences around them. How many would be saved from having to live lives like slaves? How many would be saved from having to desperation, poverty, injustice or hoarding up treasures for fear things will get worse? How many would be saved from following false promises, saved from going down a road of deception and self destruction. How many will be saved from all of this?
Even while he hung crucified on the cross, one of the other crucified men shouted out to Jesus, “Save yourself, and us”. Ironically, he did! By allowing himself to be stripped off every attachment he had to this world, letting go of everything, his family, friends, and whatever little processions he had, all his belongings, even down to the very clothes he wore, even his very life, Christ was saved from empty promises, false comforts and the suffocating grip of all the stuff we often think will save us. He entered through the narrow gate without anything holding him back, a gateway to freedom and life to the full.
So, are you saved? Look around you, consider everyone who belongs to you and everything that belongs to you? Are you willing right now to give it all up, to enter through the narrow gate, not even with hand luggage, and not turn back?
Can a Christian who makes a commitment of faith in Christ as their savior, one day be assured of their salvation and the next day loose that assurance? Yes. Even St. Paul tells us so in the Bible saying that, “I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified.” Even though we may have the will to be saved, remember the words of the prayer that the Lord taught us, “Thy will be done be done”, not “my will”.
“Am I saved? Right now at this every moment, I can say, “I hope so”. But the gift of time which I must collaborate with, is still unraveling. I have still to learn how to let go completely as pressing forward through the narrow gate, towards the goal (Phil. 3:13) of being completely one with Christ, free from all distractions and attachments to this fallen world, so that when this day is stretched out into eternity, as St. Paul says, it will be not me who lives, but Christ who lives in me. (Gal:2:20).
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