The Ekka is behind us and there is a warmer feel in the air. We are on the verge of spring. The brighter seasonal weather turns my mind to footy finals time. This is the time of year when we truly need to take it “one week at a time”, as the old adage goes. The teams that will drop out of the competition will have probably worked just as hard as those teams that will feature in the finals but there is something extra that the top eight sides will have done throughout the regular season that will have earned them the right to compete for a shot at the title. Perhaps luck and freedom from injuries have played a part, but discipline and team work are the major factors.
Coaches like to talk about the “one percenters” – those little extra commitments and efforts that players and teams make that set them apart from the others. It is that little bit extra that makes all the difference, and certainly makes all the difference between winning and losing.
Jesus is asked a question today about salvation. As we approach the finals, we can paraphrase the question like this: “Will there be many winners or only a
few?” Jesus doesn’t really answer the question, but he does give a coach’s reply: “Make sure that you do the one percenters”. The “narrow door” is that which sets us apart from the crowd. Many people are drawn to living ethically, but we are also called to be holy. We are called to live good lives, but we are also called to something more than a worldly goodness.
We are called to a deep and humble respectfulness for all other human beings because they too are made in the image and likeness of God. We are called to respect creation as a gift from the Creator and because we are called into a partnership with God as co-creators, we are called to be a voice for those who cannot speak and a protector of the weak and vulnerable. These are the “one percenters” of a holy life, going beyond the ethics of the world and living the ethics of God’s world. It is these deeper commitments that make us recognisable as disciples of Jesus. Jesus is an astute coach. He knows that the best way to go from last to first is to ensure that we are committed to those extra “one percenters” that lead us through the narrow door. Fr. Anthony