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EPISODE#16
CATHEDRAL SQUARE: HOMILY HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE 21ST AND 23RD SUNDAYS IN ORDINARY TIME

Get ready for another wonderful episode of Cathedral Square featuring our host, Fr. Christopher Smith.

Today’s program includes more homily highlights from the Sunday morning masses that we livestream on video for our Facebook feed.

The first half of the program will feature Fr. Chris’ message on the 21st Sunday in ordinary time, where Jesus invites us “to go through the narrow door..”  For the 2nd part of today’s podcast, Fr. Christopher delivers a message from the 23rd Sunday of ordinary time. He shares some thoughts on how Our Lord want us ‘to make plans in our lives..’

Be sure to share this inspiring podcast with a friend!

 

 

 

 

Originally broadcast on 10/5/19

POPE FRANCIS: MARY HELPS CHRISTIANS ENTER HEAVEN THROUGH THE ‘NARROW GATE’

Vatican City, Aug 25, 2019 / 06:10 am (CNA) – The way to heaven is difficult and the gate to enter small, but Jesus’ mother, Mary, who herself entered through the narrow gate, will help those who ask, Pope Francis said Sunday.

Mary can be invoked under the title “Gate of Heaven,” he explained in his Angelus address Aug. 25.

“She welcomed [Jesus] with all her heart and followed him every day of her life, even when she did not understand, even when a sword pierced her soul.”

The Blessed Virgin Mary is “a gate that exactly follows the form of Jesus: the gate of the heart of Jesus, demanding, but open to all,” he said. “May the Virgin Mary help us in this.”

Pope Francis reflected on the day’s Gospel passage from Luke, when someone asks Jesus, “Lord, will only a few people be saved?”

This was a highly debated issue at the time, Francis said, and with his answer, Jesus turns the question “upside down.” Instead of focusing on the number of people who get to heaven, he speaks of the path to heaven, and how many will choose to follow it.

Using the present tense, Jesus invites people to take personal responsibility, saying, “Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

“With these words, Jesus makes it clear that it is not a question of numbers, there is no ‘closed number’ in Paradise! But it is a question of going through the right passage, which is there, for everyone, but it is narrow,” Francis said.

He explained that Jesus does not deceive people; he does not say that the way to heaven is a big, beautiful highway with a large door at the end, to not worry.

“No, Jesus tells us things as they are: the passage is narrow,” he said.

“In what sense? In the sense that to be saved one must love God and one’s neighbor, and this is not comfortable! It is a ‘narrow door’ because it is demanding, it requires commitment, indeed, ‘effort,’ that is a determined and persevering will to live according to the Gospel.

“For us Christians, this means that we are called to establish a true communion with Jesus, praying, going to church, approaching the Sacraments and nourishing ourselves with his Word,” he explained.

“This keeps us in faith, nourishes our hope, revives charity,” he continued. “And so, with the grace of God, we can and must spend our lives for the good of our brothers, fight against every form of evil and injustice.”

After the Angelus, Pope Francis spoke about the ongoing fires in the Amazon, saying “that forest lung is vital to our planet.”

“We pray that, with everyone’s commitment, they may be tamed as soon as possible,” he said.

Francis also greeted the community of the Pontifical North American College (NAC), the American seminary in Rome, especially, he said, the new group of seminarians who arrived this month to begin their studies. U.S. seminarians studying at the NAC usually stay four to five years.

NARROW GATE OF MERCY DIFFICULT TO ENTER WITH BLOATED PRIDE, POPE SAYS

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — The “narrow gate” to salvation described by Jesus isn’t narrow because God is oppressive, but because pride bloats Christians and prevents them from entering God’s merciful embrace, Pope Francis said.

Christians “must seize the opportunities of salvation” and not waste time on trivial things before the gate is closed, the pope said before reciting the Angelus prayer Aug. 22.

“If God is good and loves us, why does he close the gate at some point?” the pope asked visitors gathered in St. Peter’s Square. The reason, he said, is because “our life is not a video game or a soap opera; our life is serious and the goal to achieve is important: eternal salvation.”

In the day’s Gospel reading, Jesus calls on his followers to “strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter but will not be strong enough.”

By using the imagery of the narrow gate, Jesus tells his listeners that the question of how many will be saved is not as important as knowing “which path leads to salvation,” the pope said.

Having a humble and faithful heart in need of God’s forgiveness, he added, allows Christians to enter the gate that, while wide open, remains too small for those swollen by pride and fear.

“It is a narrow gate to restrict our pride and our fear; it is a wide open gate because God welcomes us without distinction. And the salvation he gives us is a never-ending stream of mercy that breaks down every barrier and opens up surprising perspectives of light and peace,” he said.

Jesus, he continued, offers an invitation to cross this threshold and is “waiting for each one of us — no matter what sin we have committed — to embrace us, to offer us his forgiveness.”

Upon passing the gate, Christians can experience an “authentic change” that allows them to shed “worldly behaviors, selfishness and closures.”

Pope Francis led pilgrims in a moment of silence to reflect on those things that “we have inside and that prevent us from passing through the gate.” He also asked them to reflect on the “wide open door of God’s mercy” that leads to a path of salvation for those who wish to experience his love.

“It is the love which saves, the love that already here on earth is a source of blessing for those who, in meekness, patience and justice, forget themselves and give of themselves to others, especially to the weakest,” the pope said.

After reciting the Angelus prayer, Pope Francis led the crowd in the square in praying the “Hail Mary” for the victims of a suicide bombing in Turkey the night before. At least 50 people were killed and dozens wounded when a suspected suicide bomber, who was reported to be between 12 and 14 years old, detonated his explosives at a wedding party in Gaziantep.