In this Sunday's Gospel, Jesus notes that it requires moral strength to enter the kingdom of God. It's not mere proximity to righteousness that saves. Rubbing elbows with the righteous is not the same as being truly holy ourselves. Unfortunately, we can have this attitude in many areas. It's easy to see who may seem "first" in the eyes of the world. This occurs in our workplaces and among our public figures. It can also happen in our schools, local parishes, and the larger Church. For some of us, the temptation to have the popularity and prestige rub off on us can be fairly strong. If only we are in the right place with the right people, surely others will associate us with what they possess!
But salvation is worked out in each individual life. It is our task not merely to show up, but to be transformed. And the truly transformed may not be everyone we expect. "People will come from the east and the west and from the north and the south... some are last who will be first, and some are first who will be last." Some who seem first in reputation now may be last in the kingdom of God. Others who appear now on the furthest fringes of society - but better imitate the lowly holiness of Jesus - will be first in his kingdom. What are your concerns? Proximity and reputation? Or prayerful righteousness? ~ © LPi