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.” - The Gospel according to Luke 13:22-30
Today's gospel has a special meaning for the parishioners throughout the Archdiocese of New York who are waiting to hear the Cardinal's decree regarding the mergers of their parishes and closures of churches. The message - Strive to enter through the narrow gate - requires action, not complacency or passivity. To strive means to devote serious effort or energy; and to struggle in opposition.
Some may say, "You don't always get what you pray for." And they are right, in part, because prayer alone is not enough. Some will be tested, shaken to the foundations of their faith. Who will find the strength and the patience for what lies ahead?
In these last days of waiting, let us be grateful for those who continue to petition and express their concerns for Our Lady of Peace:
"As the Pastor of Trinity Baptist Church on E. 61st (Just one block south of Our Lady of Peace), it saddens me to think that this beacon of God's love might be taken from our neighborhood. Please don't let that happen." - Dr. Keith Boyd
"Let us hope that the sacrifices of the early immigrants to NYC have not been in vain. Yes, things change and people in the communities change and shift, but the Church of Our Lady of Peace can make it financially and spiritually." - Joseph Schiame
"So many folks are helped by the presence of this wonderful house of the Lord in our neighborhood." - Thomas Marrone
"Please don't close Our Lady of Peace Church! I have been a parishioner since 1996 when I left St. Vincent Ferrer Church to worship here. It is an authentic house of worship unlike St. Vincent Ferrer, which is a society church and very concerned with outward show. I am the Cross Bearer for Our Lady of Peace Church, and with reference to Cardinal Dolan's column in Catholic New York, I would ask, if you close Our Lady of Peace, 'to whom shall I go, Lord? Where shall I carry the Cross?'" - Margaret Gilbert
"Our Lady Of Peace is a hidden gem in the middle of a hectic, busy neighborhood. I am devoted to the noon service each weekday and Sunday. It must NOT be closed. It is a source of great peace and hope in this insane world. A small, quiet, blessed respite. PLEASE spare it! It is incredibly needed!" - Mary Hughes
"I was baptized in this church. This church means a great deal to my entire family. Please don't close it." - Rosalia Antinore
"Our Lady of Peace Church is the unifying institution in our small community. It brings people of all backgrounds together to celebrate our unified religion. I have been been going for years and will continue to grow through the church if given the opportunity. It's such a peaceful and small church. Please don't close it." - Antonia Abraham
"Local houses of worship are crucial to NYC neighborhoods and communities!" - Marina Levin