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Welcome to Brothers and Sisters, the weekly meetup for prayer* and community at Daily Kos. We put an asterisk on pray* to acknowledge that not everyone uses conventional religious language, but may want to share joys and concerns, or simply take solace in a meditative atmosphere. Anyone who comes in the spirit of mutual respect, warmth and healing is welcome.
Luke 13:22-30 was heard in Catholic parishes this weekend. As you'll see below the fold, it's not exactly the most comforting reading there is.

Jesus passed through towns and villages,
teaching as he went and making his way to Jerusalem.
Someone asked him,
“Lord, will only a few people be saved?”
He answered them,
“Strive to enter through the narrow gate,
for many, I tell you, will attempt to enter
but will not be strong enough.
After the master of the house has arisen and locked the door,
then will you stand outside knocking and saying,
‘Lord, open the door for us.’
He will say to you in reply,
‘I do not know where you are from.
And you will say,
‘We ate and drank in your company and you taught in our streets.’
Then he will say to you,
‘I do not know where you are from.
Depart from me, all you evildoers!’
And there will be wailing and grinding of teeth
when you see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob
and all the prophets in the kingdom of God
and you yourselves cast out.
And people will come from the east and the west
and from the north and the south
and will recline at table in the kingdom of God.
For behold, some are last who will be first,
and some are first who will be last.”
"But wait a minute, you might think. "What about John 3:16 and the idea that just believing in Jesus will get you to Heaven?"

Well, as the priest said at the Mass I attended this morning, this reading reminds us that it's not enough to simply believe; we must act.

It also has another important message for all of us - Catholics, other Christians, other believers, agnostics, and nonbelievers alike: It is not enough to simply be content with being good - good at your job, good at taking care of your family, good at being involved in your community, etc.

You have to be the best you can be.

That doesn't mean being the best there is; life isn't about comparing yourself to others and marking yourself a success or failure based on where others stand in comparison to you.

Rather, in all things - your career, your family life, your community involvements, etc. - we must strive to be the best versions of ourselves.

None of us are perfect at this, but we owe it to ourselves to make the attempt - to strive to enter that narrow gate.

Or as Mother Teresa once said:

God doesn't require us to succeed, he only requires that you try.

Originally posted to Live from Kentwood, It's... ScottyUrb! on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:05 PM PDT.

Also republished by Anglican Kossacks and Street Prophets .

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tips - and diarist schedule (13+ / 0-)

    8/25 ScottyUrb

    9/1 mommyof3

    9/8 bmaples

    9/15 algebrateacher

    9/23 OPEN

    9/29 commonmass

    10/1 OPEN

    Feel free to step up and host.

    ''I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep on the soil of a friend.'' - George W. Bush

    by ScottyUrb on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 04:59:09 PM PDT

  •  Peace to all... (8+ / 0-)

    Seeking it here and everywhere.

    Faith is meant to be ACTED on... It really is like MB's signature...

    Our country can survive war, disease, and poverty... what it cannot do without is justice.

    by mommyof3 on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:17:17 PM PDT

    •  Oh, indeed, and that was the message we heard (6+ / 0-)

      at Mass this morning albeit with the Episcopal RCL readings for the Feast of St. Bartholomew. And my parish, much to its credit, has acted on its faith in both God and community in ways which I find highly extraordinary. Saturday, we had several hundred people for the funeral of a founding member who was much beloved, and much beloved by me because he and his family have been from the start such grand and generous supporters of our amazing music ministry. But quietly, quietly. Like most of what we do in our parish, and very much in keeping with the charge of the Gospels.

      I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

      by commonmass on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:29:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  We would have heard this, but our Bishop allowed (8+ / 0-)

    us to transfer the Feast of St. Bartholomew to today, as it is not only our parish's Name Day but it is actually the anniversary of the day we moved from a Mission to Parish status, many years ago, here in the (Episcopal) Diocese of Maine.

    Not a lot is known about St. Bartholomew, which might be his last name: he appears also to be called Nathaniel. Quiet saint, and at least our quiet name-sake country parish works quietly too with a deep commitment to social justice and education.

    It was also our Rector's 6th anniversary of her becoming Rector of our parish AND, above and beyond that, and very accidentally so, the anniversary of her Priestly Ordination.

    But the message we heard today was very much like the one we might have heard had we attended your parish today as that would have been the Gospel in our Lectionary as well. We heard: do good, do it quietly, and do your best.

    Thanks for a thoughtful diary, and "happy birthday" to St. Bart's, Yarmouth.

    In October of this year, I'll be celebrating 30 years as a professional Sacred Musician. Solemn Evensong, of course, will ensue...hope to have some video for the community afterwards.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:21:50 PM PDT

  •  For peace, which in these desperate times (8+ / 0-)

    seems like a dream, but has been achieved.  Sometimes.  For a little while.

    For my nephew.  Again.  Walked out of his rehab, is living at home, using.  The situation is horrible.  

    For his mother, who is dealing with a child with serious health problems, her own degree studies, and a life that would hammer me to the ground.

    For my husband, who is trying so hard, and for my messed-up head that needs to realize it.

    And for support in the next few weeks.  Doctors and tests almost every day.  My new PCP is concerned about things I didn't even know might be wrong.

    "Republicans are poor losers and worse winners." - My grandmother, sometime in the early 1960s

    by escapee on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:39:03 PM PDT

  •  Bridging the Rome-Canterbury gap, republished (5+ / 0-)

    to Anglican Kossacks. ;)

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:47:09 PM PDT

  •  Enough about St. Bart's, but one last thing: (5+ / 0-)

    On Sept. 10, The (amazing) Rt. Rev. Stephen Lane, Bishop of Maine, will visit us to dedicate the new altar we commissioned. I'll try to get some photos for my diary at the end of the month, which I set up late in the month because not only choir starting but the Bishop's Visitation early in the month when most of us are not yet back from Summer mode.

    I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

    by commonmass on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 05:55:31 PM PDT

  •  Prayers this week (7+ / 0-)

    for one of my co-workers, who just found out she has cancer. I don't even know where it is or what the prognosis is.

    Also for my husband, who is having Moh's surgery on Friday.

    "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."--Will Rogers

    by vgranucci on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:09:44 PM PDT

  •  Our message focused on the Jeremiah reading, (6+ / 0-)

    the passage about being 'just a boy' not being justification for thinking you can't do anything about anything.

    He tied it back into the message last week about Mary rather nicely I thought, about how she really was pretty much just a teenager and still trusted that God could use her for something.


    My first church has and is playing games with my records.

    Thing that really hurts is I remember first hearing that such shenanigans were possible back when I was still a member there and wondering what kind of church would do that and feeling secure that my church would never do that...

    Well, one switch to an accepting church later and I'm in that boat, and I was lucky (or not, getting redunked then would have prevented some distress now) that church accepted affirmation of baptism in lieu of evidence of baptism.

    So prayers I get resolution there SOMEHOW, because while everything is stable now it's irritating me like crazy that they pulled that.

    •  I can't imagine a single "small c" catholic (5+ / 0-)

      tradition that would insist on your re-baptism unless it had not been Trinitarian.

      You have a right to your sacramental records. If you have not been a recipient of a Trinitarian Baptism, it might not be unusual for the Episcopal Church to suggest you have one.

      I suggest you have one, if you haven't. I was Baptized in the Congregational Church, confirmed in the Roman Catholic, and the Episcopal Church wholly and completely accepts my sacramental records as totally valid, including my Confirmation.

      I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

      by commonmass on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 06:49:11 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In fact, especially my confirmation: (5+ / 0-)

        Baptism in other traditions are often accepted. The Roman Catholic Church accepted my Protestant Baptism, because it was done, as shown on the certificate, as in the name of the Trinity. The Episcopal Church accepts my confirmation not only because the rite is so similar (and in Anglican tradition, like in Roman Catholic tradition, can only be done by a Bishop and mine was though he was also the Superior [Abbot] of a Jesuit Community]) and unlike the Roman Catholic Church, Anglicans/Episcopalians recognize the validity of Roman Catholic orders and especially the validity of Roman Catholic Bishops (the other way around? Not so much.) So I am considered a validly Confirmed Anglican even though I was Confirmed in the Roman Catholic Church.

        As far as the Roman Catholic Church is concerned, I'm an apostate. But if I ever desired to come back into communion with them, it would take but short conversation with a Roman Catholic Priest and my confession that I apostated myself. Which I never formally did, by the way. But I did by leaving the Church. But it's not the greatest sin a person can commit. And in my case, because it had mostly to do with my own understanding of my God-given dignity as a gay man, I suspect it's a most minor one indeed, and the division between the two churches is more historical than it is doctrinal. Though it is, a bit, doctrinal. But for many of us, not as much as it's made out to be.

        Now, the Roman Church would never admit my Confirmation because they hold Anglican orders to be "utterly null and void" and have since at least the First Vatican Council.

        That was a terrible mistake. We had a lot to teach them, and them us. ;)

        I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

        by commonmass on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:05:03 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  SBC baptism, and I'm old enough and my memory (5+ / 0-)

        good enough that I know it was properly Trinitarian.

        And yes, some people at my current church of attendance know of the issue and have been thinking through solutions.

        Personally, I really wish the BCP included a procedure for personalized Renewal Of Baptismal Vows instead of just the corporate Eastertide form and the Conditional Baptism format, because that would fix the documentation issue and the bad taste in my mouth from some issues I won't get into here surrounding my baptism in a way a conditional baptism wouldn't.

        Conditional makes sense for someone in an infant-baptizing tradition who was not old enough to be a functional witness to their own baptism, not so much for an adult who clearly remembers what was said, who baptized them, who was baptized on the same day and when that friendship fell apart years later, who was waiting with a towel for drying off their face and had forgotten to take their glasses beforehand...

        But then that gets into rebaptism territory and as the descendant of Anabaptists and the probable distant cousin of someone who died by Third Baptism for being Anabaptist... well I'm okay with that but the local Episcopal bishop would break out in hives and then if I ever went back to immersion-only churches (as I hope to do Someday) I'd have some psychological baggage to deal with that I'd rather not go poking at.

        •  Talk to your Priest, is the only advice I can give (5+ / 0-)

          you, and don't look back.

          I resent that. I demand snark, and overly so -- Markos Moulitsas.

          by commonmass on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 07:14:33 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  From my understanding (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cassandra Waites, Tonga 23

          it depends on whether the church is connectional (like Catholics, Methodists, Presbyterians, Lutheran, etc.) who are gathered into groups with "laws" or congregational (like Congregational churches, independent churches, Baptists of all stripes) which stand alone and make their own rules.

          The stand alone churches can choose which if any baptisms to accept and which are not valid according to them. It is like communion, some are open to all and some are closed.

          Unfortunately, the preacher sometimes thinks he/she is God and makes decisions which should belong to a board or the congregation.

          God knows your name and your heart.  We Presbyterians believe that the sacraments are outward signs of an inward grace ... it is we that need the assurance that we belong to God, not the other way around.

          Grace and peace to you.

          "I want to live in a world where George Zimmerman offered Trayvon Martin a ride home to get him out of the rain that night." Greg Martin, Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Florida

          by CorinaR on Sun Aug 25, 2013 at 09:21:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  To strive is one of the most beautiful concepts (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Tonga 23

    FDR's confidant, Helena Roerich, constantly came back to the concept.  It is cited as a key tool for acceleration of the evolution of consciousness.

    "Energy and will are the true rulers of karma. He who renounces self, who strives for the Common Good, who is devoted in battle and joyous in labor, acquires, at least for a moment, an Arhat's enlightenment, which makes him lord of his own karma."  - Agni Yoga, Helena Roerich

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