The Responsorial Psalm pinpoints the source of our hope: “My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy” (Psalm 13).
In Romans 8: 26-30 Paul is saying that salvation is the work of God and a gift.
It is clear in Scripture and Catholic teaching that God offers everyone the grace to be saved. He “desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth” (1Timothy 2:4). But Paul gives a progression: “Those God foreknew he also predestined… called… justified… glorified.” It stands to reason that if God foresees that someone is not going to accept greater graces, God will not offer them (Matthew 7:6). But those whom he foresees will respond, he chooses as he chose Paul “from his mother’s womb” (Galatians 1:15). He “calls” them, “justifies” and “glorifies” them. Paul wants us to know that all is God’s gift: notice it and celebrate it:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who … chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him in love…. He destined us for adoption as his children… according to the good pleasure of his will” (Ephesians 1: 3-5).
We must always give thanks to God for you… because God chose you as the first fruits for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. For this purpose he called you through our proclamation of the good news, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2Thessalonians 2: 13-14).
We should listen, then, to the Holy Spirit, who prays in our hearts “with inexpressible groanings.” Salvation is God’s ongoing work within us. Our part is to join in and cooperate as faithful stewards of his gift of love. “My hope, O Lord, is in your mercy.”
In Luke 13: 22-30 Jesus warns us that when God calls we must respond in a timely manner and come to him by God’s path, not ours. There are many ways to live but only one leads to the fullness of life: the way of Jesus, who is “the Way the Truth and the Life” (John 14:6).
Jesus is the “narrow gate” in the same way that the mathematical concept of a straight line is the narrowest thing there is, having no breadth at all. The Christian path is not a channel identified by laws like buoy markers, that make it broader or narrower by being stricter or looser. We set our course by steering toward the “fixed star,” which is Jesus. To be “on course” is to be looking at Jesus, whose way of acting, words, deeds and principles “constitute the moral rule of Christian life” (John Paul II). Any deviation puts us off course. To get back on course we look at him. “My hope is in your mercy.”
Initiative: Be Christ’s steward. Accept salvation as a gift and “love back.”