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Narrow Door to a Universal Church

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Dr. Marcellino D'AmbrosioWhere do you Stand?

Marcellino D'Ambrosio, Ph.D.  

 

Abraham and Sara, Abram and Sarai, Narrow Gate, Catholic Church

 

Start small, finish big.  That seems to be God’s motto.  He begins salvation history with two people from what is now Iraq.  When planning to raise a really big family, why start with an elderly couple who’ve never been able to have kids?  But this is precisely what God does.  He turns the sterile Abram and Sarai into Abraham and Sarah, ancestors of a worldwide family which still celebrates their memory nearly 4,000 years later.

 

In God’s plan, this family was to turn into a mighty nation.  An unlikely candidate for greatness, this “nation” was birthed out of a rag-tag band of Abraham’s descendants who’d been slaves for hundreds of years.  A poet once wrote “how odd of God to choose the Jews.”  But after 40 years of desert camping, they entered their promised land and eventually became a mighty kingdom.

 

But God had bigger plans still.  This nation was not to hoard the treasure, looking down their noses at the rest of the world.  That was the Pharisees’ mistake.  No, they were to be a priestly people destined to bring salvation to all.  This salvation was to come once again from the least likely of places.  Galilee?  What good could come from a land of hillbillies and fisherman?  They spoke with an accent so thick that you could cut it with a knife (see Mat 26:73).

 

Pharoh, The best and brightest, Catholic Church

Do you see a pattern here?  The best and brightest, the biggest and the strongest– like Pharaoh, Goliath, and Caesar – these are not chosen.  Rather, it’s the least likely to succeed, the little, ordinary people.  That way, no one can take credit and no one can lose heart.  No one is qualified and no one is disqualified.  Even the all-stars can get in on it if they’ll step off the pedestal and humble themselves before God.

 

So all are called to be saved and find their place among God’s people, the Church.  The only One who could earn salvation has already done so, and shared it with all of us as a free, undeserved gift.  That’s what the word “Catholic” means – grace and membership are unrestricted, universal, for the “whole” world rather than some exclusive, elite club.

 

That means everybody is going to heaven, right?  I mean, how could a loving, large-minded God send anyone to hell?  He doesn’t.  God’s heart is large but as this Sunday’s Gospel (Lk 13:22-30) points out, the door to heaven is narrow.  Jesus is that door.  No one comes to the Father except through Him.  The map to the door is widely published.  The Father issues regular, personal invitations.  But people still need to accept the invitation and walk through the door.  Apparently many choose not to.  Some won’t enter the door because they’ve been offended, even scandalized by one of the doormen.  Others won’t enter because it is too narrow-minded to insist that only this door was the right one.  Some are really busy and put it off till things settle down.  There are many reasons.  But there comes a moment when the journey is over and the door closes and locks.  Wherever you stand at this moment is where you’ll stand forever.

 

That fact that you were baptized Catholic is no guarantee that you are now on the inside.  Neither is the fact that you once accepted Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior.

 

But we went to Mass every Sunday (“ate and drank in your company”).  But we went to Wed night prayer meeting and bible study (“you taught in our streets”).

 

Catholic Mass, Living your Faith, Confession

Actions speak louder than words.  Your words may “Lord, Lord” (Matt. 7:21) and your lips may sing hymns every Sunday.  But what does the “body language” of your actions say?  What side of the door you stand on is not a choice that is made once, either on the day you confess Christ or the day you are baptized.   It is a choice that must be made every day up till that last and final day.

 

You can’t know when that day will be.  Here’s the question you need to be concerned with--where do you stand right now?

 

For Spanish, Click Here!

 

This originally appeared in Our Sunday Visitor as a reflection on the Scripture readings for the 21st Sunday in Ordinary time, cycle C (Is 66; Ps 117; Heb 12; Lk 13:22ff).  It is reproduced here by permission of the author.

 

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Great Adventure Bible Time Line by Jeff Cavins - DVD
Bible Timeline StudyThe first in the series of Great Adventure Bible Study allows you to have Jeff Cavins as your personal Bible teacher in this one-of-a-kind DVD (or CD) series. This series offers a compelling overview of God’s plan of salvation. Developed by a converted protestant minister, this amazing series will help you develop a greater appreciation of scripture!

 


 

Adventures in Revelation 10-Week DVDs
 Great Adventure Bible Study, Adventures in Revelation The fourth foundational study of The Great Adventure Bible Study Series is here! In this intriguing look at one of the most talked-about books in Scripture, Jeff Cavins explores Revelation to demonstrate how the Kingdom established by Christ in His Church is intimately connected with the Kingdom of Heaven, especially through the celebration of the Mass.

 


 

How Mary and the Rosary Can Change Your Life -CD Set
 Blessed Virgin Mary, Rosary, Catholic Church,Devotion to Mary, Mother of God, Praying the Rosary Two talk set by Dr. Marcellino D'Ambrosio that explains the Virgin Mary as the model of faith, the true meaning of the Rosary and how both can change your life! Wonderful for anyone who has questions about the Catholic belief with regards to Mary and the Rosary!

 


 

 

I Believe - The Heart of the Catholic Faith - DVD Set
In this dynamic, four-part faith formation series, on the Creed, Dr. D'Ambrosio explains how this expression of the basic beliefs of Roman Catholicism is relevant to our personal relationship with God.

 


 

The Early Church Fathers

 

The Early Church Fathers, Catholic Church, Fathers of the Church, Marcellino D'AmbrosioA society characterized by the violence, loss of respect for life, exotic religious cults, homosexuality, sexual promiscuity, and even pedophilia. No, we're not talking about modren times -

 

The Early Church Fathers succeeded in bringing a Pagan society to Christ. If we pay attention to what they taught, we will succeed in doing the same for our own de-Christianized society!

 

Album 1: The Apostolic Fathers and Irenaeus

Album 2: The Apologists, Ambrose, and Augustine

Early Church Fathers 2 DVD Set—$49.95

Early Church Fathers 2 CD Set—$18.00 

 


Curtis Stephan - LIVE!
 Curtis Stephan - LIVE! Recorded with a live audience at Maximedia Studios in Farmers Branch, Texas on October 4, 2008.
The songs are a mix of familiar songs from previous CDs: ie. I Will Testify, No Ordinary Day, This Day, Love, Peace and Love of God; to other songwriters songs never recorded by Curtis before: ie, Trading My Sorrows, Undignified, You Never Let Go, Unchanging; to some new songs written by Curtis not yet on any previous CD: ie, Set Afire, We Live to Love, Holy is the Name of Jesus and Take Up Our Cross. An awesome mix of upbeat, rock style and contemplative acoustic fashion this is a well produced and artistically superb addition to your Curtis Stephan collection!


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