In the Gospel, someone, probably one of his apostles, asking Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?” If we are to analyze this question, first we must wonder what he meant by “being saved.” Apparently by then, and within the circle of Jesus’s friends, apostles, and disciples, there was the certitude that after this life, there would be salvation for the good and perdition for the wicked. That concept is not spelled out explicitly in the Torah, and therefore some Jews either don’t accept it, or are unsure of it. In Jesus’s time, the Pharisees believed it and the Sadducees usually did not.
In any case, Jesus evaded the question as he nearly always evaded questions about the future. There is a natural human eagerness to know the future, but it is not ours to know, so Our Lord rarely spoke except in general terms about the future. He simply answered it by telling his audience, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.” And he goes on to say that some will knock on the door which will have been locked, and the Master will say to them from within, “I don’t know where you are from.” God grant that that will not happen to us.
August 24, is the anniversary of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in the year 79 A.D. which annihilated the cities of Pompeii and Herculaneum near the mountain and in the suburbs of the city of Naples. Imagine the terror of those thousands of people as blinding, choking clouds of ash descended upon them and then waves of lava invaded their communities to kill anyone who was left alive. Sudden death is a frightening prospect, especially in the case of people who have no religious faith or hope and who do not take morality into consideration in their lives.
Let us live in constant union with Our Lord as well as we can. Let us keep the commandments and frequent the Sacraments and pray daily so that we can, we hope, be among the “good and faithful servants” whom their Master found awaiting his return and ready at their posts. Thank you for seeking God’s truth, God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This message was composed some years ago.