Are You Playing The Odds With Your Salvation?
Almighty God sees our every action, and these actions have consequences for our eternal salvation. With the encouragement of our Lord, knowing He is a loving and merciful God, let us strive to enter through the narrow gate.
Salvation is too important to be left to chance - to play the odds and calculate the possibilities, because it's a matter of our eternal life and death.
It's not just enough to have a knowledge of Jesus or to belong to the Church. We have to build a friendship with the Lord, know Him intimately, and follow His commandments.
God asks nothing less of us than complete abandonment, lived out each and every day as we strive to be faithful to the Lord and his commands, with perfect trust in His mercy.
00:02 It is a question that always plagued believers - are there many or are there few who will be saved? At certain times in history this question has become for some so pressing that it causes a terrible anguish. This is even the case among the great saints, one of these saints was Saint Francis de Sales who because of the theological mood in his day, um, he had a great deal of terror as a youth. He was terrified that he was not included in the saved in the elect and thus he was destined for damnation.
00:50 One January evening, unable to take it anymore. He went into a church and kneeling before a statue of the Madonna, he made an act of complete and total abandonment to God, throwing himself completely on the mercy of God, swearing that he wanted to love him, no matter what his destiny would be and that he says he was suddenly struck by the disappearance of the fear and by the complete removal of the anguish which it's so overwhelmed him for years and years, he felt, he writes that he was reborn at that moment.
01:27 As Jesus passed through the towns and villages, someone asked him, Lord will only a few be saved? Jesus responding puts at the center, not how many will be saved, but how we will be saved. Jesus is not interested in revealing the number of the saved, but the way in which we are to be saved, the number doesn't matter. It matters whether we are saved and that's what the Lord tells us today because he goes on to say that we must strive to enter through the narrow gate.
02:03 For many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough. And if there's any doubt, I don't know anybody that can read the gospels and think that there isn't, not not an alternative to heaven. We see it today. We see those who claim to know Jesus are locked out there on the other side of the door and the Lord says, I do not know where you are from and it is no good in. claiming we ate and drank with you. You taught in our streets.
02:35 He says again, I do not know where you are from. Depart from me, you evil doers, which brings us to another point here. It is no good us being nodding acquaintances with Jesus our Lord. We have to be his friends. We have to build a friendship with the Lord. We have to come to know him intimately. Not We can't go before Him and say, well we, you know we ate and drank with you so you're in the streets. We've got to go before him saying, I loved you Lord. You are my friend. I talked to you in my prayer. I followed your commandments because he says, if you want to be my friend, you will do as I tell you, you will follow my commands.
03:22 It's very clearly the Gospel teaches us that it's not just enough to have a knowledge of Jesus or to belong to the church. It is something else that bestows the gift of salvation. Jesus puts it this way. Strive to enter through the narrow gate. This is Saint Luke's Gospel, the same passage of cares and St Matthew's gospel a little bit more expanded. He says, enter by the narrow gate for the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction and those who enter that gate are many. For the gate is narrow and the ways that that leads to life and those who find it a few.
03:57 Truly being a Christian is hard and it is a narrow gate. If you think Christianity is easy, then you're doing it wrong. It's tough. The Lord has always told us that it will mean self-sacrifice. It will mean giving things up for the Lord to changing our ways to molding our ways to his.
04:27 In the early Christian Church there was a piece of literature called the Didache which was written about the year 100, and it's one of our primary sources of how we found out what the early Christians did, how they celebrated the mass, things like this. Um, and in that this letter, it's explains to us that there are just two ways. This is from Apostolic Times. There are two ways, one of life and one of death. It goes on to say, and there is a great difference between the two to the way of life belongs, the love of God and neighbor blessing those who curse you, pardoning those who offend you. Being sincere, not seeking after money. To the way of death belonged their contraries - violence, hypocrisy, oppression of the poor and pride.
05:19 We need to constantly examine our lives to be sure which path we are on. Striving to follow Christ on the path which is difficult or on the other path, which is easy. The path of comfort, path of luxury, but will lead to destruction. Salvation is too important to be left to chance - to play the odds and calculate the possibilities because this is important. It's a matter of life and death, eternal life and death.
05:52 Saint Francis de Sales shows us well what is asked of us - nothing less than a complete abandonment to God. The abandonment which is lived out each and every day of our lives as we strive to be faithful to the Lord and his commands, mixed of course, with perfect trust in the mercy of God. My brothers and sisters, our home is in heaven. That is what we were made for, but we must remember that our individual actions here on this earth before Almighty God will effect our eternal life. Every choice we make here will have consequences and the Lord knows our choices.
06:31 A few years ago, the former CEO of Google, Eric Schmidt, told that sometime in the near future people will be wanting to change their identities to protect them from a misspent youth that has been recorded by the Internet with such things as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, etc.
06:52 And we've seen this in the news. I've certainly aware of it, of college kids being rejected places because when they apply, admissions go look at their social media and find that they've posted inappropriate things or pictures or something like this and that they're denied. Most employers nowadays will search you on your social media and find out exactly what you're like before you're offered a job. We know we're being watched. It's all over. Everybody. Google, Facebook, they're all watching us. You know from the little signs that you get when you buy a pair of black socks from Amazon the next time you go and look at your email, Google or advertising more socks for you. Just strange cause the like red and yellow socks. And I only have black socks so I don't know why they're sending me these things. But you know that everything you do is being looked at. Someone's watching our every move on the Internet especially, which reminds me of an old joke where the Catholic grade school cafeteria, and I'm wondering if the table is a big bowl of uh, shiny red apples. And Sister Mary Joseph has written a sign next to the apples, says: Only take one. Remember, God is watching. And on the other end of the table, there's a big pile of cookies and one of the kids had written, take as many as you like. God's watching the apples.
08:24 We're concerned about being watched by Google and all these people. But the thing we must remember is God knows our every move, our every thought, our every desire and has done from the beginning, from the beginning of time. Although there is no time in God. God has known everything. He is omniscient. So let us never forget that. In the words of Isaiah in today's first reading, thus says the Lord. I know they're works and I know they're thoughts that is never be deceived. We can be worried about what Google knows about us, but be under no, um, confusion that God knows all about us.
09:06 The Internet has been a marvelous thing obviously, and it's a great resource for all sorts of things. Recently the Vatican library has posted a as put on their website, digitized versions of most of their manuscripts, which is a tremendous, uh, you know, sort of addition to scholarship in the world. Um, but all the great museums, you can see all the artwork, etc.. So there's some beautiful things on the Internet and it's obviously very helpful. However, there is a great deal of evil on the Internet.
09:42 And of course, pornography is the greatest evil there. Some stats for you. Every second $3,000 in the United States is being spent on pornography. Every second 30,000 Internet users of viewing pornography, every second to 372 internet users are typing adult search terms into search engines. Every 39 minutes, a new pornographic video is being created in the United States. 12% of all websites worldwide contain pornography. 90% of all young people between the age of eight and 16 have viewed pornography on the Internet. The average age of the first exposure is 11 years of age. Pornography revenue is larger than all combined revenues of all professional football, baseball, and basketball franchises in the United States. US pornography, rev revenue exceeds the combined revenues of ABC, CBS, and NBC. $6.2 billion. Pornography is a terrible plague on our society. It's already started to wreck marriages and families. It gives our youth a completely false view of human sexuality.
11:03 It can be overcome and it can be battled with the sacraments. Of course, like all sin. And like all temptation. The Lord left as the sacrament of his body and blood and the sacrament of reconciliation to overcome these things. But we must remember, only the pure of heart will see God. And let us also remember that Almighty God sees our every actions and these actions have consequences for our eternal salvation. So with the encouragement of our Lord today, knowing he is a loving and merciful God, let us strive to enter through the narrow gate.