Reading I: Isaiah 66:18-21
Reading II: Hebrews 12:5-7, 11-13
GOSPEL: Luke 13:22-30

Faith Check on Aisle Five

I hate standing in lines. It’s something that we all have to do, but I seem to have no skill at it. If I pick the shortest lane, it’s bound to be riddled with price checks, noisy kids, and slow baggers. I can’t win. In today’s readings we find out that salvation is a lot like the grocery store — all are welcome, but you better pick the right checkout.

Cause It’s Always Savings Time

I can remember how fun it used to be to go to Farmer Jack, one of our regional grocery store chains. I would fill up my cart with ease — I didn’t have to worry what it was going to cost. Once I got up to the checkout line, I just flashed them my card — My Farmer Jack Savings Club Bonus Card — and BAM! I saved $5.34. Why? Because I was special. I was a part of a special club. Membership had its privileges!

Then they took the card away. I mean, I still had the card, but all it did was track my purchases. Farmer Jack decided that it would be better to offer lower prices to everyone rather than to give me 15 cents off my lima beans when I scanned my card.

Maybe Farmer Jack took a cue from God in this weekend’s reading from Isaiah. In the reading, God says that he has come to gather all the nations. Everyone is involved in salvation, not just the Jews. Everyone is valuable in the eyes of God. It is always “saving” time and special cards (or creeds) won’t get you better treatment!

One Stop Shopping

Jesus speaks of inclusiveness in the gospel when he says that all can be saved if they enter by the narrow gate. A narrow gate? Doesn’t sound good; I’m getting claustrophobic. Wouldn’t a huge gate be better? Americans like wide aisles and wide lanes on the expressway. Why does Jesus say it is a narrow gate?

Well, for starters, one would certainly have to choose to enter through the narrow gate. It might even involve some standing in line. We might have to be patient and disciplined.

Hmmm… disciplined sounds a lot like disciple. We are all called to be disciples and to do that we must actively seek out God, even if it means standing in the slow line at the spiritual check-out!

Watch out for the Falling Prices

Walmart’s commercials used to feature a smiley face knocking down prices. One of their slogans was “Watch for the falling prices.” Ah, if only every sign from God were that dynamic!

Today we are called to actively seek God and make his message of inclusion a reality in the world. If we are separating ourselves from others, we need to ask ourselves how that is helping the salvation of all. If we are letting opportunities to spread God’s love pass us by, we can’t sit and wait any longer. Because, like most of the good offers, we are around for a “limited time.”

Life Application:

Do you take part in various groups and activities at Church? Why or why not?
Do you take part in activities with people of other faiths? Why or why not?
What can you do to seek out the saving that God offers?

Original article by Nick Popadich, 2004.
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