The first words Saint John wrote in today’s first reading for Mass is a bit unusual in the bible. He started this reading by saying, “Chosen Lady.” That is actually the theme of all of the readings for Mass today too, though. The gospel is about being “chosen” by the Lord Jesus during what most Protestants call The End Times.
Not everyone will be “chosen” though. However, we do not focus on this fact as much as many of the Protestant religions do. Catholics do not believe there is only a certain number of people (144,000) that will be saved. However, it often seems like many Catholics wonder how could a loving God exclude anyone from heaven?
The readings for Mass today certainly has some answers:
“Many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh.”
In many places in the world, Catholics live surrounded by a pagan society. Christians are being persecuted and put to death in terrible ways. Even in modern society, religion is often viewed as a personal choice. It doesn’t apply to everyone. People embrace what is true for them, not necessarily what is the truth.
Saint Paul has a few words for people who think religion is old-fashioned and doesn’t apply in their lives anymore, in today’s first reading though:
“Anyone who is so “progressive” as not to remain in the teaching of the Christ does not have God.”
It’s often our own attitudes and our own choices that separate us from God.
Jesus doesn’t condemn anyone. When he comes at the end of time though, he will take the ones that belong to him – the ones who have chosen him, and he will choose them. The ones who are not with him, is by their own choice.
The examples Jesus gave of Noah and the flood, and Lot’s family in Sodom and Gomorrah, are something worth thinking about too. Noah and Lot were holy men that talked to their family about their faith in God, and also what was going to happen. Have you ever talked to your family about death, life after death, and our beliefs about eternal life? We shouldn’t assume our spouse, children and extended family already understand this, or really believe it, even though they may have been taught about it.
One last thing that is worth reflecting on, in the gospel today, is Jesus’s warning not to be attached to our possessions.
Seriously. If you had to, would you be able to walk away from your entire way of life and every single thing you own, or have ever known, except for your family? Or would you doubt that it was really necessary?
Daily Mass Readings:
2 John 4-9 / Psalm 119 / Luke 17: 26-37